The Spring 2012 issue of Poetry Quarterly has been posted on-line, and two of my poems are in it: "Outside the Abundant Life Chapel" and "The Food Truck."
The Abundant Life Chapel is located in Charleston, West Virginia. I was in Charleston in 2010 for a conference. I was giving a workshop on a Sunday afternoon, and since I had no conference-related activities in the morning, I decided to attend meeting for worship at the Charleston Friends Meeting. I arrived at the meetinghouse early, so decided to walk around a bit until others arrived to open the meetinghouse. As I walked past the Abundant Life Chapel, the sound of gospel music flowed through the walls and the closed doors. The bass was thumping a lively beat and it sounded like the congregation was rocking. The impression stuck with me through the day; by that evening, I was writing out the words of the poem.
"The Food Truck" was inspired by the Hispanic food trucks that have appeared along the Route 1 corridor in Howard County, Maryland, where I live. No doubt, they are elsewhere. They can be found in industrial park parking lots, on the side of the road, and any location where Latinos may gather to eat, socialize, wait for work. I wanted to write something about them, but I was having trouble identifying the specific theme. The reality of farmers in Mexico and Central America being forced out of farming by the flood of cheap American corn seemed the perfect backdrop for the poem, and the food truck operator became a farmer who had left his farm for better economic prospects in America.
The Spring 2012 issue of Poetry Quarterly is available at http://poetryquarterly.com/?page_id=7