The Library Men by Billy Malanga

I counted six withered white haired men
with sun spots on their arms like sliced beets.
They were reading hometown newspapers
and sipping coffee, in need of someone to talk to.

They wore faded oxfords rolled to the elbow,
un-starched, like old sweatshirts. This quiet house
with clear-cut rules chimed like a chapel.
They bragged about running with the bulls
in Pamplona and hiking the Himalayan Mountains.

But, none of them really listened. None of them
had any real authority except for their thermostat
at home or which frozen entree they would pull from
the freezer. Mostly they resembled each other
in a noisy world that ceases to hear them.

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Billy Malanga (M.S. in Criminal Justice) is a first generation college graduate, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, and the grandson of Italian immigrants. He played college football and worked for many years in a state prison system. All of these influences have undeniably shaped his way of thinking about his art. His poetry reveals his small victories and also his struggles in redefining masculinity in an effort to better understand the beauty and brutality of the world around him. His upcoming poetry will be published online at The, in print at Sprindrift Literary Journal, and The Rat’s Ass Review. He currently lives in Urbana, IL.

Photo: Kae Sable, Roberto Stelluti’s studio, Fabriano, Italy


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