Dan Grote

has turned 30-plus years of addiction and an 84 month federal prison sentence into 30-plus published poems. His work has appeared most recently in the Hiram Poetry Review and Santa Clara Review. He recently finished repaying his debt to society and is probably on the streets of Chicago exchanging poems for spare change and good karma. He can be reached at danmgrote@gmail.com.


Having decided to now dedicate
one day to each of seven deadly sins
Tuesday seems appropriate for envy

Envy for those who read their words out loud
Those poets who practice Spoken Word
While my stanzas stay condemned to silence

I’d no sooner speak my heart aloud
Than make love to my mistress in public
Though my words would last longer

My verse akin to broken promises
Best consumed cold, alone and in the dark
Regret illuminated in the dawn

So yes, I envy you that use your voice
You that speak words not so confessional
I’ll stay beaten, broken, anti-social

Scribbling in silent solitude, my choice.

Don't Talk To Strangers

When my sons were little
I told them not to
Talk to strangers

Which is probably why
They will not talk
To me today

All they will remember is
All that we never
Did, all they will ever

Know of me being
There is that
I never was