Eric Robert Nolan

Eric Robert Nolan’s reporting, commentary, and creative work have been featured throughout 46 print and online publications in the United States, Canada, Britain, Ireland, Germany, Australia and India.  These include Newsday (New York State’s third largest newspaper and America’s 10th largest), The Roanoke Times (Virginia’s third largest newspaper), The Free Lance-Star, The Daily Progress, The Galway Review, Every Day Fiction and Quail Bell Magazine.  

Eric’s writing and photography were also selected for ten anthologies, two chapbooks and six mini-books between 2013 and 2021. He is a past editor for The Bees Are Dead, and was a nominee for the Sundress Publications 2018 Best of the Net Anthology. His debut novel was The Dogs Don’t Bark in Brooklyn Any More, published in 2013 by Dagda Publishing in the United Kingdom.

A Churchgoer Passes My Yard on Sunday Morning

She seems
smart and responsible, somehow.
There’s assurance in her
brisk and purposeful pace,
passing in her bright Peach,
trim and tailored suit.
I see no sanctimony, only
commitment to some task.
There’s order all about her. I picture
parishes of prompt accountants.
She has an incongruity
with my unordered lawn
as she passes in Peach.
The high and wild Green
is how I ornament
my unmarried days.
My lawn is in constant apostasy.
It has lost its faith
in the arrival of mowers
and conscientious owners.
This morning, my secular pen
serves its agnostic art;
her spiritual path
serves salvation.
The high and unkempt grass
is my Green aesthetic.
Archetypes scuttle like beetles
on soil soft and Black —
as deep and as concealing as
the Jungian collective.
Bright dandelions
announce themselves in Yellow –
nascent ideas
pleading to be plucked,
as bright as the sun, as bright
as the pious’ Peach-colored suit.
Each stands over secrets –
Each stems up
from an interminable Earth
deep and vast and dark.
Under tectonic plates,
magma burns in its belly.
In our buried selves
— down deep –
is there heat sufficient
To soften all our stone?
Maybe next week I’ll engage her.
None of that nonsense
about “The Culture War.”
We’re both human. We both
stand over secrets. Beneath us,
miles below, is magma.
Red rock runs in bright burning currents.
Were the lions facing Daniel any different
than the Lion that Auden envisioned
in “The Sea and the Mirror,”
ever insatiable and
ravenous for metaphor?
Or maybe I’ll ask her about
the snake that troubled Adam.
It spoke, didn’t it?
Were there verses in its mouth?
Did its tongue
hint at inner dichotomies?
Might it have crept
down from The Tree of Knowledge
onto a poet’s lawn
to catechize slyly in rhyme?
In both our souls or muses, we
stand over secrets; we both
concern ourselves with serpents, and
magma burns in our hearts.

The Secretary

Skin and circuitry,
Metal and flesh.
Her dreams of childbirth were
Relentless, recurring.
Push, push, push
Said a midwife’s mechanical voice.

Fluorescent lights flickered,
Then murmured discordantly.
Coarse starched sheets
Scratched her knees, and then
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed.
The product of her womb was hard —
Edges and angles
Against her inner thighs.
And at the end of that difficult birth, looking down,
She saw coils and coils of bright copper wire.

By day, she was a secretary.
People liked her.  Not enough, though,
For Valentines, dates, anniversaries.
With furtive eyes, she observed
All those little moments
That enchant a common life.

So, she only worked.
Phone, file, phone.
Push, push, push.

At times, she imagined her womb
As a gestating clock.
Its meticulous gears
Marked the passage of time.

Batteries moved her limbs, her veins
Were wires under her skin.
She hid circuits behind her eyes.
Electricity riddled her brain –
Warm lightning.

Returning home one night,
She passed a factory on her right.
Its smokestacks vaulted like turrets.  The lights 
Were crackling stacked stars.
Its fence hummed.  The smokestacks
Exhaled rhythmically
Push, push, push.

A metal shed was there –
She imagined it held
A piston-beating heart,
A muscled metronome –
Life in a bright steel box.

Arriving home, her spine
Tickled with current.
She reached her garage and parked.  Blue sparks
Danced in her sinuses.
Push, push, push,
Said a mid-wife’s mechanical voice.

She pushed some oily rags
To seal the open spaces
Beneath her garage door.
In her brain,
Machines hummed in corners.

She pushed the car’s ignition.
The air there nourished her, then.
The carbon monoxide
Push, push, pushed her.

She shut her eyes.
Her gears slowed softly.

The Bureaucrat

Amity in his veins,
The gray, aging bureaucrat
Lit a cigarette.

He spied ice on a window frame.
How unlike its blue-cold form
Were the words of industry – warm.

Like sunlight on a monument,
The vivid hues of a flag,
Warm – like the ringing endorsement
Of a product or a plan,
Like the gaily colored covers
Of an annual report,

Warm – like the newly dead.

4 thoughts on “Eric Robert Nolan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.