READ LOCAL First: Star Coulbrooke

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAREAD LOCAL First is your glimpse into the working minds and hearts of Utah’s literary writers. Each first Sunday of the month, 15 Bytes offers works-in-progress and / or recently published work by some of the state’s most celebrated and promising writers of fiction, poetry, literary non-fiction and memoir.

Today, 15 Bytes features Cache Valley-based Star Coulbrooke who provides here four as yet unpublished poems.

Sunday Blog Read continues to collect a distinguished group of established and emerging Utah writers for your review and enjoyment. So curl up with your favorite cup of joe and enjoy the work of Star Coulbrooke!





Fathers see their babies first,

tops of their soft little heads

crowned at the birth canal.


Mothers push their babies out

with vigor, fighting hard labor’s

exhaustion, trusting others’ hands.


Our babies go through life this way,

pushed out head first into the world,

into the hands and arms of strangers.


Sometimes they grow up addled,

never getting over that shove

into mid-air, as if they were dropped

on their heads, and maybe they were.





The children you never had

hide between blinks,

motes in your eyelashes.

Not insignificant, they irritate,

force the hand to rub and pick.


I would have been better,

they say, than those

peaches with split stones,

apples worm-holed.


You pick up the galvanized

bucket half-full

of middle-aged offspring,

handle bent, side kicked-in,

and twirl, arms flung out,

spine rared back.


Trust gravity.





He’s carving Santa heads, big ones

with tall hats, beards ending just below

the neck, eyes hidden under hat brims.


He turns out two a day, proud to show

the way he textures hair,

wood chips falling at his feet.


Paints them orange, red, green.

Adds a linseed finish;

lines them up on the work bench.


Open the door and go in.

They stand in rows like bikes at a bar,

heads with hats and beards, no bodies.



Cactus Club Dancer, Afternoon Shift


Coyote Carol had nipples too big

for the pasties, brown aureoles

bordering bright silver centers.


CC’s G-string had been known to slip,

furred V tucked thick with bills,

lap dances forbidden when plain-clothes

cops came in for their weekly bust.


They left empty-handed,

pants pockets bulging.


Carol was buxom, a tall dark beauty

with just the right shimmy.

Even the women stuffed money

under her glittering belt.


CC’s tits were so firm and upright

they could hold a cowboy hat

while she danced, jiggling

out front like a side-saddled filly.


And could she ever skin that dance pole

all the way up and down.

Eye-witness account: When Coyote Carol

got done dancing, it looked like the pole

had a new coat of varnish.


Hard to believe where she is these days,

Relief Society president in the Seventeenth

Ward, Latter Day Saint with a past.


Copyright, Star Coulbrooke, 2014

Used with permission.

Star Coulbrooke is responsible for Helicon West, a bi-monthly open readings/featured readers series in Logan, Utah. Her poems appear in journals such as Poetry International, Redactions: Poetry and Poetics, and Sugar House Review. Her poetry chapbook, Walking the Bear, published by Outlaw Artists Press, is a tribute to the Bear River. Star directs the Utah State University Writing Center and lives in Smithfield with her artist partner and their two heeler-mix mutts.

Past featured writers in 15 Bytes’ Sunday Blog Read: Katharine Coles, Michael McLane, Darrell Spencer, Larry Menlove, Christopher Bigelow, Shanan Ballam, Steve Proskauer, April Wilder, Calvin Haul, Lance Larsen, Joel Long, Lynn Kilpatrick, Phyllis Barber, David Hawkins, Nancy Takacs, Mike Dorrell and Susan Elizabeth Howe.



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