Jean L. Kreiling


Ode to Earbuds

O, let us now praise earbuds: pairs of small
and undemanding guests that perch inside
their happy hosts, each ear well satisfied
when fleshy curves and ridges form a wall
of one’s own intracranial concert hall,
a venue that, surprisingly, is wide
enough to seat a string quartet or hide
one’s penchant for the picking of Les Paul.

Gray matter welcomes all the heat of rock,
the cool of jazz, the ruthless beat of rap,
the splendor of Baroque polyphony—
so praise these plugs that find Brubeck or Bach
in digits lined up by a cell phone app
and turn them into sonic ecstasy!

The Timpanist Refrains from Abusing His Power

He easily could rearrange the beating
of several hundred hearts within this hall,
or march us into hell (thereby defeating
our pose of starchy virtue), or we all
might just as easily succumb to lust,
seduced by his precise intensity
into unseemly climaxes. We must
admit that although his dexterity
amazes us—and we have no complaint—
we’re also much obliged for his restraint.

Jean L. Kreiling is the author of two poetry collections, Arts & Letters & Love (2018) and The Truth in Dissonance (2014); her work appears widely in print and online journals and in anthologies. She is a past winner of the Able Muse Write Prize, the Great Lakes Commonwealth of Letters Sonnet Contest, a Laureates’ Prize in the Maria W. Faust Sonnet Contest, three New England Poetry Club prizes, and the String Poet Prize.