Bruce Dethlefsen

422 Lawrence Street, 
Westfield, WI 53964

Bruce Dethlefsen was born in Kansas City. He is the author of two poetry chapbooks, A Decent Reed and Something Near the Dance Floor (which won a Posner Honorable Mention award). His latest full-length book of poems, Breather, won a 2010 Wisconsin Library Association Outstanding Achievement in Poetry award.

Bruce was the Wisconsin Poet Laureate for 2011–2012. He served as secretary of the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets for six years. He recorded original music on Cathryn Cofell's poetry CD, Lip, with his two-man group, Obvious Dog. He is a retired educator and public library director and lives in Westfield, Wisconsin.

Breather, Fireweed Press, 2009; $15.00
Available from Bruce Dethlefsen, 422 Lawrence Street, Westfield, WI 53964 (add $2.00 S&H)


Suicide Aside

suicide aside try watching birds
regard them as they fly like salt to bread
spice up this crusty world

a giant spider web
their lines of flight
tie up and bind the world

they fly
birds jump up in the air and stay
you try it
flap your arms for all you’re worth
no way       you’re stuck
they’re free to leave the world

the colors
lemon zest and lime and berry
sugar coffee cream
and all the rest
sublime delicious flavors how
our eyes drink in the world

and listen to them sing
the wind becomes a thing alive
with music whistles squawks and chirps
a melody of world

so tell me why you thought you’d rather die
check out       pluck all the feathers
close the lights

alright don’t tell me
but please me
stick around a while
with me to watch the birds
see how they swirl and turn the world

White Stallions

the children of the street
must see themselves
in the greasy puddles of the forenoon
in the sundown storefront windows
in the luster of the shoes they shine

must see themselves
in the reflection of a customer’s sunglasses
in the tears of the old women
in the shadow of the bus

the children of the street
must see themselves
flying purple kites on sunny beaches
dining with the family after church
riding white stallions

the children of the street
must see themselves