Cover of Alternate Centres of Being by Robert Flanagan

Alternate Centres of Being

A collection of poetry, including one conventional "rhymed" poem—a ballad-extended—and five experimental poems utilizing diverse poetry "playthings," an indulgence from a graduate writing program, by Robert Flanagan: 44 poems, 108 pages, Connemara Press/McClainPrinting, 2019.

Soft cover  $15.00


This poetry collection derives out of the author's many years of travel, to and in both exotic and prosaic venues; the poems may well never have seen print but for the enthusiasm engendered at public readings and in graduate writing course analyses.

Flight 890

Through a somber night sky
I listened—desperate in boredom, aroused
to curiosity, finally held
in fascination—as the scholar before me
discoursed on matters politic and cultural,
lapsing from accented Anglaise
into a dialect of Breton
with Gallic indifference.

Knowing nods
smiles aside and to himself lips
pursed, shrugs with eyebrows flaring,
a Scaramouche of unbidden talents. I marveled
patronizing with voyeurism
and stopped on the point of applause.

It was only as we taxied to the ramp
that I saw the seat
beside the monologist was bare
and the wisdom of his transatlantic philosophy echoed
down the black empty night
runway unanswered.


Camden, Maine

brine ripe and frayed
bind the piles
that edge the iodine seas.

Aerial mariners,
ancient gull-winged fish followers,
wheelers and sliders down derelict skies,
strident criers—
summer lightning above the feathered tide.

Triangles quaver on the horizon,
hills settle on the littoral wash,
pine black with evening.

A buoy measures against uneven swells.

Catching the Wind

Breezes from the early autumn sea
compass the cruel revels of children on a beach
below where I sit, tasting new wine near
by the castle wall, gauging the fashion
or willingness of signorine
in their prominence of nipplery.

She alone waiting,
immersed in the splendor of quiet,
patrician in aging, has no need
of careful arts, her hair
luminous in its whiteness, her skin taut
in oil tanned patterns—
sensuous signals bridging the years.

Her eyes can speak, the knowingness
of her lips fixed in a benediction;
she can command if she would
where others offer, plead.

Our eyes touch, rearing
a dream of a time long out of time
before my own
to have now the memories
that would have come from those breasts
and those thighs, those fine eyes and hands
before the drought of years.

And still she muses sublime,
generous … looks away, smiling
a wistful penance as we remember, each
his own,
our time before.