Inimitations of the Wolf

Vol IX: Intimations of the Wolf

COREY MESLER has published in numerous journals and anthologies. He has published two novels, Talk: A Novel in Dialogue (2002) and We Are Billion-Year-Old Carbon (2006), a full length poetry collection, Some Identity Problems (2008), and a book of short stories, Listen: 29 Short Conversations (2009). He also has two novels released simultaneously, March 31, 2010: The Ballad of the Two Tom Mores (Bronx River Press) and Following Richard Brautigan (Livingston Press). He has also published a dozen chapbooks of both poetry and prose. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize numerous times, and two of his poems have been chosen for Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. He also claims to have written, “Afternoon Delight.”  With his wife, he runs Burke’s Book Store, one of the country’s oldest (1875) and best independent bookstores. He can be found at


for my kids

"Everybody needs his memories.  They keep the wolf of insignificance from the door."
Saul Bellow





            “The punches came fast and hard
             Lying on my back in the schoolyard.”
                                    Neil Young



The bigger boys laughed.
They had arms
like wolves.
Their legs were bars, a
cage for the puny.
How did I ever escape?
I did not escape.
They are all still alive in me,
here, between ventricles,
a toxicant.



The Wolf Hungry for Connection



The wolf hesitated before he knocked.
His reputation, while
perhaps warranted, was
an onerous burden. Who would believe
he was just visiting,
just looking for a chat?
The wolf looked over his shoulder and
there were neighbors
gawking. He was used to this.
He didn’t even bother to explain. He
didn’t tell anyone that all he
wanted to do, mostly,  was chew the fat.



The Actual Jazz


I hear it sometimes after
the wolf stops
Those unstoppered nights
when cicadas
The reason I still listen,
here at the outpost,
is that once you
spoke to me with dulcet
lies and I
found I liked it. Now my
head is
damaged, leaking a bit
like the light
leaks around your pictures.
I listen just as
damn hard
as I can
and out near the switching yard
a switch is made.
It’s all there.
The changing of tracks, the
changing of
clothes, the changing of
the light,  the names we never
used, the
baby’s last words,
the world turning on an old
axle, your astonishing lies,
the actual jazz.



The Wolf Again


"There are nights when the wolves are silent and only the moon
howls."-George Carlin


When the wolf
sat at the table
most of us tried to act
as if we weren’t
ruffled. After
all we had eaten to-
gether before,
just never at home.
Later, when
they gave out the
prizes and the wolf
won most of what
we coveted we
still simpered. It was
only when the
women began hang-
ing around the
den, the juice on
their thighs
glistening like smiles,
did we begin to
think that what we
had ceded was
lost forever. We stopped
shaving and
began to prepare
for a journey,
one that would take
us outside the city,
to places where
we would all be foreigners,
fierce strangers at
every banquet.



Chloe Dreams She’s A Wolf


Chloe, the dream where you’re a wolf
is a power dream, is a benison.
You are so small and frail and I want
to send you out into the multivariate
world with a suit of armor.  Perhaps
this dream will suffice.  Perhaps you will
need me, just a little longer, my
only daughter, my exemplary visionary.



If the Wolf Appears Again


If the wolf appears
again in a poem
it is not an actual wolf.
It is a symbolon.
He has come to tell
you to rinse
yourself of reality, for
a moment, just
to imagine that the
world is not the world
of men, only of men.
The wolf appears courtesy
of the dreamscape,
a place of eidolons and
imps. The right
to use him again is
given freely,
to poets, dreamers, and
to lovers who wish
to hang onto their mates
with all their
animal wiles.



More Night Dances



            “I shall not entirely/Sit emptied
            of beauties”
                        Sylvia Plath


I am older, a man
with a shtick, a man given
to flights of
inappropriate fervor.
When younger
I gave too much, such generosity
was designed to gather.
I say to Marsha now, will you
take my wound?
She tells me to lie down on
the bed made years
ago by fresher dawks, the bed
where I swooned once,
taking the hand of someone who
would not love me forever.
Yet, really, I shall not
entirely sit emptied of beauties.
I do not want
to end this with a question.
Yet, I say, will
the wolf sit outside a little longer,
his pink tongue
the only splash of color in
the black and white movie of my life?


Following a Red Flame in the Dark



            Awakened by the wolf again I followed as far as my weedy legs would take me, deeper into the woods than I had ever ventured. The wolf signaled that I was to get down on all fours. His smile was a slash of red flame in the darkness. I tried as best I could to keep up, tried to play down my humanness, the bad habits of a privileged lifetime. Deeper into the gloom I went; all the time behind me the city ticked like a bomb. Later, when I told the children, they smirked the way the young do when their elders tell them poesies. I was glad the sun was starting to rise and the city beginning to take shape again, almost as solid as a proffered hand.




At the Wolf’s Booksigning



The usual crowd showed up,
the hungry crowd
that insists on its poetry straight up,
as broken prose. The wolf,
looking suave in his red blazer,
warmed his pen up
in the mouth of a virgin. He had
an idea for a new book
right in the middle of the party. Every-
one stopped and waited
politely as he got down on all fours
and began to bay at
the glittering disco ball, which had
been a last minute idea
by Mrs. Patina, a brainstorm really.
Later the line snaked
around the store, in and out of shelves
of novels written by men
and women of shimmering poise and
courage. The wolf’s book,
Howl Too, was selling like water.
Everyone was happy for the wolf, for
his success, and, finally, for the things
he taught us about thirst and being.




“Bullies” in Poetry Weekly
“The Wolf Hungry for Connection” in Goblin Fruit
“The Actual Jazz” and “At the Wolf’s Booksigning” in Megaera
“The Wolf Again” in Void
“Chloe Dreams she’s a Wolf” in The Oracular Tree
“If the Wolf Appears Again” in Underground Window
“More Night Dances” in Chantarelle’s Notebook
“Following a Red Flame in the Dark” in Wild Strawberries