Issue > Poetry
Julie E Bloemeke

Julie E Bloemeke

Julie E. Bloemeke’s first full-length poetry manuscript, Slide to Unlock, is forthcoming with Sibling Rivalry Press in 2020. Her poems have been widely anthologized and appeared in numerous literary journals including Gulf Coast, Prairie Schooner, Poet Lore, Chautauqua Literary Journal, Palooka Magazine, South Dakota Review, and others. A freelance writer and editor, her interviews have recently been published in The Writer’s Chronicle and Poetry International.

Letters On The Air (I Feel Love)

     after Donna Summer

try me      fill me

I know I know I know I know

            that green lamp        swag spin         sunken          

                       living room     pillar  votive

                       burning, burning to                 don't touch.

shadows.  he sits.  orange pinpoint flare.  darkness.

                                    smokecurl smell.

I stand on the coffee table.

            he does not stop me
                                     with language.

I break every rule          I break every


           I jump.

he talks.  not to say no.  not to say yes.

           to say: listen                to ask:

what is really left in the rain?

             I say the cake.  

             I say her umbrella.  no.

                         I say, mid-spin:  her heart?

ice clink in the drink.     think, he says.


I see her yellow dress

             I hear her run for a man she loves.

I don't know longing.
                       I don't know yes.  

but she is running

                      and I



the lid rattles on the glass jar

                       I jump

                                  I spin

           I spin to fall

I get up

                       thick shift of room

the flexing light

my shadows on the wall a disco

                        I feel love       I feel love

                                      this      flare          spin

                                               I'm bad           I'm so so bad       

the imagined man in the chair:                         think:

                       another word for muse

                       this voice that makes me

             it's so good       it's so good

and already this young I am bad

                                    bad because I want

because even though I do not know

                        I know

I can     I will

                        I will make this song

                                   mine     at seventeen  

I will have my question too

I will take this body

          and torment it

                      with memory, regret.

I will be so so bad in how I want

           me who has the cake, the rain, the yellow dress,

                        the man to run for, the letter from the overcoat.

why isn't it enough?

                        come on baby, dance that dance.

                                       I fall down.

I am the cake, the rain, the recipe in your hands

                        your hands,  these          

                                       letters     on

                                                       the air 

Note:  "Letters on the Air (I Feel Love)": is after Donna Summer.  Italicized lyrics are from the songs "I Feel Love," "Heaven Knows," "On the Radio," "Try Me I Know We Can Make It," "Last Dance," and "MacArthur Park."

It's All Real Within The Dream

This is not monumental.
We are sitting next to each other
on the couch.  Through the window
there is a sun. I am looking at your faded knee,
denim fibers worn to fine over your most bendable
places.  We are holding hands.  Everywhere,
somewhere, people are holding hands.
Even now in the poem, even as you read this,
even when you find these forgotten words
a lifetime later, we are holding hands.  This
is not remarkable.  Forget that you live
on one side of the world and I the other.
Forget that it has been seventeen years since
I have seen you. This is ordinary, your hand
in mine, me feeling a small pulse
from your wrist. We are sitting on a couch.  
Together.  There is the sun. This is not extraordinary.
We are looking to each other.  I don't have to find you
across wires, photos, pixelated text.  
There is the air of you.  There is the air of me.
There is our air, together.  We breathe.  You,
tangible in my senses.  Me, tangible in yours.
This is just a Tuesday.  This is not remarkable.
You say: When I look back over my life
I will count this as one of my happiest moments.
Everywhere people are holding hands.  Everywhere
there is a sun, even when we turn from it.  See?  
We are still holding hands. You have said
those words to me.  Still we are sitting
on the couch.  You are wearing jeans. There is us.  
There were seventeen years. We feel our hands together.  
We cannot stop looking. Everything is unremarkable.
Somewhere everyone is holding hands.  The sun
wants to slip, to remind us.  At last we can touch
each other.  Don't wake me if it isn't true.

Note: "It's All Real Within the Dream": is for James Dickey. The title references a recollection shared by Ward Briggs during Dickey's memorial service on January 27, 1997: "Jim called me up one night when he was alone and a little afraid and he asked me to come stay the night with him...When I got there he told me he had a dream, and that he was back in high school playing football and he had scored the first touchdown, and then he scored the second touchdown.  He was carried off the field and that night went to a party where the most beautiful girl in all the state of Georgia fell in love with him.  They ended the evening by the side of country road with the top down and moonlight showering them.  He said to her, 'This is the greatest day of my life, but I can't be happy.'  She said, 'Why not?' and he said, 'This is just a dream; it's not real.' She said, 'Sure it's real, Jim.  It's all real within the dream.'  He asked me when the end came, whenever that would be, to lean over to him on the bed and tell him.  'It's all real, Jim, in the dream,' and I promised I would.  A little more than a week ago, I was in his room and I grabbed his hand at the end of our conversation, and I said, 'Just remember, Jim, it's all real in the dream.' And he said, 'I know it is,' and he squeezed my hand."


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