Brick Road Poetry Press

poetry made to entertain, amuse, and edify

The mission of Brick Road Poetry Press is to publish and promote poetry that entertains, amuses, edifies, and surprises a wide audience of appreciative readers.  We are not qualified to judge who deserves to be published, so we concentrate on publishing what we enjoy. Our preference is for poetry geared toward dramatizing the human experience in language rich with sensory image and metaphor, recognizing that poetry can be, at one and the same time, both familiar as the perspiration of daily labor and as outrageous as a carnival sideshow.

Poetry by Connie Jordan Green from Household inventory


Ten Ways of Looking at an Appalachian Woman


Among ten tall mountains

the most enduring being is a woman.



When the stars were flung across the galaxy

the first cells foretold her appearance.



She is known for her ability to create supper

from a handful of meal and a piece of fatback.



Veins of coal are nothing

compared to iron in her arteries.



Words are pebbles in her mouth.

She spits them into stone walls.



Her silence is like a scolding.



Before dark she does

the work of many men.



I know not which is most beautiful—

the grace of her body when she is young

or her will when she matures.



A man and a woman are one,

but a man and a mountain woman

are like the girding of a steel structure.



When she comes at last to rest,

even the ravens fold up their glossy wings.


Persephone Addresses the Herbs


In the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries ... the harvesting of herbs and vegetables was often accompanied by the chanting of verses or the muttering of spells.

               —from Betty Crocker's Kitchen Gardens


Lovage, chervil, sweet marjoram,

what has it cost you to remain

safe from winter's wrath

in your airtight jars?

Colors faded, leaves dry as old skin,

still you punctuate our dinner,

give back summer's flavor,

essence of meals almost forgotten.

You awaken memory of sun's long journey.


Here in underground's Stygian gloom

let us praise perennials—mint, sage,

rosemary, tarragon, thyme—hearty

souls who outlast snow, ice,

who endure while our eyes close

on dreams of pale lavender blooms,

gaiety of chamomile flowers.

Blessings upon generous biennials—

angelica, frilly parsley—who hallow

our planting with a second year of growth.


Soon spring and tender basil, sweet

bay, garden cress.  May our spirits

rise like green tips of chives

long held prisoner in eternal night.


Tending the Garden


You don’t have to know what feeds the seed,

urges its metamorphosis into tendril and stem,


into leaf, flower, fruit, and then seed once more.

You don’t have to understand soil, mix of loam


and sand, peat and manure, acidity, alkalinity,

how clay can harden or sponge up moisture,


the role of earthworms tunneling

their evolutionary trails, eating the earth,


casting their wealth.  You don’t have to measure

rainfall, track sun’s northward journey,


its turning at last back toward equinox.

You don’t have to learn Latinate nomenclature,


study genetics, Mendel’s years of pea vines.

You need only tie on a hat, slip your feet


into last year’s sneakers, kneel where sun

and rain, where seasons and weather bless


your bent back, pronounce a beneficence

on your garden-loving soul.


Ode to an Onion


These tears fall for you

   renegade of earth

      pungent parcel

         flavor for soup, meat, and sauce.


Beneath the knife's blade

   your layers part—

      translucent slivers

         crescent moons.


Only the tomato

   rosy in her skin

      juiced without remorse

         rivals your versatility—


in a melodrama, you win

your soul too sweet for tragedy.


Pale Shadow


I pull weeds from bean rows while seeds

that spawned these stalks slumber

among a thousand kin.  They will sprout,

the professor of agriculture told me,


for eighty or ninety years yet, their lives

a Methuselah legend my back

will never conquer, like starlight long

dead still traveling its eleven-million miles


per minute, messages our minds will puzzle over

until our own cells and senses blur and dim.

Knees in the dirt, hands searching and tugging,

I bring a temporary order—the same blow


for orderliness I’ve struck these seventy

years—dishes washed and stacked on shelves,

dirt swept beyond the doorway, sheets

washed, sun-dried, tucked over mattresses—


as if the world wants to be made

perfect, as if the living must print

their pattern, cast a lengthening

shadow before the face of chaos.


To Robert Frost


Often in the spring

I walk my own

steep-pitched pastures

far from Vermont hills.


Old poet, I want to say,

did you, too, love the land

more than words

so that all those lines—


those metered rhymed cadences

that seemed to pour forth

spontaneous as buds

on your beloved birches—


were of less use to you

than plows turning

the good black earth?


No Country for Old Women

This is no country for old women—

cedar waxwings line up

on apple tree limb, pass

petals from beak to beak,

the last fed first, wrens

fledge from their garden shoe

nest near the back door,

cling to porch screen

while mature birds scold

from maple bough.


This is no country for old women—

bucks roam the field,

antlers of velvet polished

against oak and hickory,

does hide spotted fawns

in last fall’s leaves, young

deer chase each other

near our garden, surprised

to see our gray heads close

together, bent over the first

mum flowering in late August.


This is no country for old women—

ghosts of children flit

through the house, hide

beneath stairs, in attic rooms,

refuse their vegetables, advice

about their hair, their clothes,

choice of friends.  I find their crumbs,

trails they’ve left, daring me to follow

into a country where old and young

rise together, hands linked

in a chain hauling up memory

like water from a deep well.


At the Feed Store


Bins brim with onion bulbs—

small, covered in crinkly paper

like pages of a family Bible.

Outside, April sky spreads

her blue coverlet over a landscape

of yellow jonquils, tulips, red and pink.

In the shop we are concerned

with the dormant—bags of shriveled

peas, boxes of potatoes smelling

of earth—only pictures to promise

the green, the luxuriant.


                                        I rummage

among the onions, scoop out

a handful, weigh them on a scale

old as the store’s oiled floor boards,

dump them into a brown paper bag

I’ll carry home, set beside me

while I kneel on the warm black

soil, trowel a hole, bury the bulb,

tip pointing up for growth

straight toward the sun—

like my father before me, tending

the useless that it may

grow into its abundance.


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