Free Verse: Joshua Mehigan
"There's no money in poetry, but there's no poetry in money, either."
Not many sonnets root for the drunks at homeless shelters, but more should. Though we might first think of the Renaissance painter, or maybe even the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle, the Raphael mentioned in the poem is most likely the archangel of healing in Judeo-Christian tradition. This poem first appeared in River Styx #87, the just-out new spring issue.
At the Men’s Mission by Joshua Mehigan
How many sons-of-bitches no one loves,
with long coats on in June and beards like nests—
guys no one touches without Latex gloves,
squirming with lice, themselves a bunch of pests,
their cheeks and noses pocked like grapefruit rind—
fellas with permanent shits and yellowish eyes
who, if they came to in the flowers to find
Raphael there, could not be otherwise—
have had to sit there listening to some twat
behind a plywood podium in the chapel
in a loose doorman suit the color of snot,
stock-still except his lips and Adam’s apple,
telling them how much Jesus loves the poor
before they got their bread and piece of floor?
Joshua Mehigan’s first book, The Optimist, was a finalist for the 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize. His poems have recently appeared in The New Republic and Poetry. In 2011, his essay “I Thought You Were a Poet,” on poetry and madness, won Poetry magazine’s Editors Award for best feature article of the year. He is a 2012 NEA fellow in poetry.
Other "Free Verse" poets: Jill Alexander Essbaum, Drucilla Wall, Michael Meyerhofer, Travis Mossotti, Allison Joseph, Stacy Lynn Brown, Adrian Matejka , David Clewell, Catherine Rankovic, Andy Cox, Rodney Jones, Sara Burge, Melody Gee, Christopher Todd Anderson, Andrew Hudgins, Richard Cecil.
To learn more about River Styx, click here. Richard Newman, River Styx editor for 15 years, is the author of two full-length poetry collections, "Borrowed Towns" and "Domestic Fugues." He also co-directs the River Styx at Duff's reading series.