​​In Memoriam: JFR Editor Lucas Boelter (Sept 23, 1990-Sept 24, 2015)

Dear readers, Jet Fuel Review is establishing a memorial page for our editor Lucas Boelter with some of his poetry, which deserves to be read. This is a work-in-progress as we will continue to update the page with tribute comments about Lucas from students, faculty, and others. If you have anything you’d like to say about Lucas, please send it to our blog editor, Michael Lane, and we will post it on this page as we are able. You can also read an interview with Lucas here

IMG_3848

Prayer

Imagine I have a hook
and your body splayed above me,
hooked, and it is as if each cut
breathes, like a mouth, into my
mouth.

We are kissing, darling,
how I have prayed for this.

 

 

Lucas Boelter’s intellect, imagination, and conscientiousness allowed him to be a striking writer and excellent editor. The qualities of his poetry, which you will see below, embrace the marvelous, contain an affinity for oddities, and involve dreaming and liminal states as they drift between levels of perception, invoking magical and dazzling tableaux with their lyrical complexities. They revel in the imagination, creating strange landscapes, refreshing tonal changes, and complicated sonic terrains as evidenced in his poem “Waterfall,” in which he creates sonic pulses, echoing the rhythms of falling water by building on the “w” and “l” sounds:IMG_2165

. . . It will be my
waterfall and we will have children who
will rest on my shoulders. I will be a
waterfall god of sorts. The children will
be called Cougar and Matthew and in the
parks we will stroll.

Although Lucas’s poems are quirky and whimsical, and often conversational, they are counterbalanced with gravitas as they investigate and pose questions about the nature of “being,” as in the closing lines of his sonnet with the loaded title “Rest Room”:

As I lay in your apothecary,
Doc, do not forget to let a ruined old boy see his face in your scalpel, lewd
fork. I imagined churning my finger in the ceiling light, my blown up alibi;
How can any of us help but crush ourselves in search of Heaven’s nuclei? (published in Jet Fuel Review)

His motif of religious and science speculation (“Heaven’s nuclei”) reappears in his poem “Cosmic Cubes” in which he inquires again on the evaporative nature of existence:

Who’ll coil the celestial mechanics of cosmic cubes—
the wormhole digesting the oily eighth grade,
the radioactive high school, the beating hammer. (published in Jet Fuel Review)

Ultimately, Lucas’s work is often a combination of barbarity and whimsicality, displayed beautifully in one of the quatrains from his poem “Christmas: A Self Portrait,” especially in the paratactic line “I vomited, it flooded, I rowed a boat,” which simultaneously connotes Noah’s Ark and the childhood lullaby “Row Row Row Your Boat”:

I shove an apple in my mouth, then
swallow a stick. It was eleven years ago,
robed men beat my foreheads.
I vomited, it flooded, I rowed a boat. . .

You will be missed, my dearest Lucas. May you “Row your boat gently down the stream, merrily. . . ”

–Simone Muench, Chief Faculty Advisor for JFR

back of my van

the back of my van and the smoke
is ghosts of white, ephemeral flowersIMG_6785
that puff and sink and we’re all here
singing Sunday Morning Coming Down
and Lenny with the nose that holds
a white earring shaped into the word
BANG!, exclamation mark and all,
he says he’s joining the navy
after the trip only if they sing
In The Navy when on the boat
and his pops used to beat the fuck
out of him and his sister and collie
too and he once told me
I could look into my daddy’s
eyes and see two ghosts fightin’
each other and the ghost wit’
the red back always winnin’
but it’s all right now because he’s
with Margaret now and with his friends
and we’re in the back of our van
smoking and singing Sunday Morning
Coming Down

 

Divinity by Absorption

Friday night I kissed two Caligula’s
into each of my lungs

and watered myselfIMG_7565
into an Augustus.

I’ve been a killer for royalty forever,
always the Romans.

When Caligula broke from
his death he craved thighs

but there were only breasts.
I had entered a Roman

kingdom browned by the fierce
golden death of divinity.

I then spread my shaking
frame into a Roman numeral.

 

Fireman

I am the sort of man you find
in the forest’s armpit, asleep,
IMG_3884a light-bulb in his hand and
a cigarette in his heart. See,
my sleep is of the burning sort.
All night the rabbits squeal from
getting too close. My dreams
need lotion or they’ll peel. I
power this place.

Come to me! For my fire
doth need fuel. See, like
a pot I need stew, like a
fingertip I need a cut, or
I shut, cashed, colorless.
a blank in the revolver,
Only my accidents are lethal.

Cut the cord and I spill
into the water, a sort of
spicy gasoline. A toaster-
shine on my suit of metal,
my fork rises in the air,
feeling for an outlet.

*First published in Windows Fine Arts Magazine

 

Spoiler: Death.IMG_6830

I pulled out the weeds, plucking each
bone from the garden – has anyone
ever said a weed is a bone? The organic
quality of both consumes me, and the
Frito-Lay box lies in memoriam. Why
not die? Answer. Please. Cockroaches
speak a bit of death, making the milk
carton brown and peel like necrosis,
or the skin on your back where the
saxophone lied as you slept. Which
speaks to the music in death. Beat
goes the death, marching along,
like a bare finger in a puppet show –
no one need ask it to smile, it
grins and signs its John Hancock
for the children. I see it as the
sort of thing that looks at you
from the closet when you awaken,
then wallows about the wallpaper,
and, you know, look! It’s death!

*First published in Windows Fine Arts Magazine

 

Waterfall

Look, it is a waterfall. One wants to
reach out an upturned palm and let
the waterfall fall into it. Then hold it
and keep it and squeeze it (squeeze the
life out of the waterfall!). It will be my
waterfall and we will have children who
will rest on my shoulders. I will be a
waterfall god of sorts. The children will
be called Cougar and Matthew and in the
parks we will stroll. There is nothing like
strolling with your family in the park.

 

 

Gag

What comes from these explosions?IMG_2666
I go out, blistering on the edges of
the wind, cut in and cut out a thousand
times, proclaiming,
I see your razor blade! I see the tongue
of the knife on my spine!
And there is a swollen throat in my mind,
and the rotting flesh of
fire sticking out of my bones.
There is God! Up there! In the bleeding
corpses! The roasting children hanging
from the street lamps! What explosions
gag on the cinder of reality!

Gag, if you will. Gag on my knife.
Gag on the swell of water, of snow,

of street lamp light.
The frozen cut-up in the corner –
smiling, compassionless, bleeding
into my throat, and the taste of God
in my gut.
Through my endless winter vines, I
inflame like the ocean, on the street,
in the windows, the rain tucked into
my eyes, fevered and manic and eternal
until the end of time.
Where are you, God? You’re hard on
the windowsill. You’re hard on the
cuts, the swelling, the spinning of
a gagging skull ripped and ripped again.
Rip me, God. Rip me a new eternity
sprung from a tipped cinder.

The houses!
The snow!

The cut-ups roast and spit,
flamed and flamed again.

As it is.
Here we are.
So it goes.

And do you worry, God?
There are but trees inside these houses.

 

Subtle Twine

The long and supple stare
of the deadened hills,
IMG_7620fragile beneath immeasurably alive
skulls and darkness,
drowned hearts at the hearth.

Volcanoes, earthquakes
float nine months and accuse
every artist of fire,
lost to the narrow aisles
of a dawn-bright, caged bird
with countless subtle twine.

Find a lover to die in
the moon and winter’s haunted
fires. Meteors springing
high, falling like gold mines,
cut history’s wide, swelling
nights into a daybreak
my ancestors gave.

 

Christmas: A Self Portrait

Two heads! the villagers cried.
I was born in a distended stable.12038273_10153448207207529_7144376453625428674_n (1)
I stroked a lamb’s teeth upon birth,
and have slept with them for years.

A shriek in the orchard molests
my wind-worn face; apples fall; I adorn
the trees with white hair. My hair-tree
blooms and makes me cheery for Christmas.

I shove an apple in my mouth, then
swallow a stick. It was eleven years ago,
robed men beat my foreheads.
I vomited, it flooded, I rowed a boat,

I laughed, I shouted Merry Christmas to all!
Such was my birth. Years later, I visited
my vomit lake and picked bodies like
fudge-stuck flies, and said

“Look what you’ve done! Things
could have been great! I only ever
wanted a family that loves me!
What’s the matter with you!”

Then threw them back in,
and enjoyed crackers in my soup.

 

CasketIMG_6773

Out of the casket I broke
a walking, talking thing.
I stood upright, the hair
of an undertaker asleep on a handful
of silver. This is Dolly’s graveyard,
where she fell like a broken horse,
and neighed Ubermensch all the way down.

To keep a crystal frozen in blood, like a
hard heart stuck awake in the night. Dolly
came from Arkansas, and on the street curb
sought a loneliness most enlightening. Dark,
like a faraway ox, she saw a hell in protrusions,
the curb symbolizing the outward nature of things
forever at the bank of her river, an unsettling fish.

She was disgusted with the painters and mongers,
to whom death blossomed forth the endless stroking
of pale hands on watery faces. She looked at the tree
and tried to stretch her neck around the top branch,
for in stretching the neck the earth booms
like a tunnel, and the fields break water and capture
light on soothing knees – knees meant to touch
fellow space-travelers, who spin about, shouting,
Life is alive! Life is alive!IMG_7612

This casket, the back seat of a Pontiac,
the roaring space between fingers, the
dead neck on a thigh, it is a brain’s
sandy gully, equipped with a man
who likes throwing sand. Be without
the dirt – ladies, gentlemen. Though, one
wishes to suck the back of the moon and absorb
a bit of heaven.

 

Burrow: A Villanelle

You were wearing black jeans and a black jacket,
The grazing lawbreakers on the elevator gawked.
We spent the night digging into your paper packet.

Your blanket-gray day was a church bell of clerical racket,
A dusk of decaying Rubik’s cubes, an eyeline glumly chalked.
You were wearing black jeans and a black jacket.

You said you envisioned the deep of a palm, the hole of a rabbit;
Our eyes down at each other’s abdomens, softly our mouths hawked.
We spent the night digging into your paper packet.

You need this burrow, where at times the windows slowly turn to agate;
We’ll lie in your damp closets, admiring the softness of cracks newly caulked.
You were wearing black jeans and a black jacket.

Perhaps in the skintight wombs where the grown gray ticks inhabit,
Our matches will snowflake, and our stalked eyes will become un-stalked.
You were wearing black jeans and a black jacket,
We spent the night digging into your paper packet.

*First published in Jet Fuel Review

IMG_2687

Cosmic Cubes

I want to live my hours in a
pod, the pallor of which will cause intestines
to restrain themselves in visceral straitjackets,
or perhaps uncork – just concave walls for me
and the clot of day’s daily surgery into darkness.
I find a narrative in a wall-corner, see,
and soon the constellations warp my pod window, the quilt
is spread for metaphysics’ and mathematics’ twirling fingers
to collide with a bang big
of dislocation and a world to calm me forever.
Serene is the life of a wall-worshipping spaceman
who’ll coil the celestial mechanics of cosmic cubes he does create—
the wormhole digesting the oily eighth grade,
the radioactive high school, the beating hammer.

*First published in Jet Fuel Review

 

Rest Room

I keep myself awake; the tunnel of solitude is a jawless
wreath, glistening and bitter like the dust of Japanese
moths. It was in the Wrigley Field bathroom, I was a crawfish
heading towards the light – sizzle, sizzle. Lights burned, keys

stuck to my thigh, I thought my neck would be cut by the phone booth
line or the stall door gazing down like a guillotine. It could be glorious
to leave in a sparkling men’s room, eaten by the badged gray wolf,
taking your body sack down in black, and a smooth table for nefarious

examination. The reflective metal lining the mirrors, the faucets spewing a library
of would-be drownings, the overrun bushes of a Catholic Church in the tattooed
section of a cerebrum’s schizotypal ruminations. As I lay in your apothecary,
Doc, do not forget to let a ruined old boy see his face in your scalpel, lewd

fork. I imagined churning my finger in the ceiling light, my blown up alibi;
How can any of us help but crush ourselves in search of Heaven’s nuclei?

*First published in Jet Fuel Review

IMG_0516

Screen Shot 2015-09-26 at 5.38.13 PM

 

LUCAS BOELTER TRIBUTE PAGE12042932_10153448207032529_1895025922382396031_n

 

As the editor of Windows Fine Arts Magazine, I have witnessed how Lucas has left a lasting impression on his audience with his creativity.  Please listen to his voice in his poetry in Windows Magazine 2015, and appreciate his craft of storytelling in Windows Magazine 2010.

These journals can be accessed here.

-Professor Therese Jones, Editor of Windows Fine Arts Magazine

___

I met Lucas for the first time on campus outside of class. One night, I remember thinking to myself,”I need a little break from my homework. I should go out and have some fun,”and so I drove over to campus. To go to an English Department social gathering type thing. Years ago, if I had been invited to that, I probably would have not gone to it–(I would have been too nervous or too busy with my schoolwork). That night, I was feeling so stressed out at the time, and had wanted to go out. I had been mainly focused on my schoolwork for several days. Not so much free time. Also, I talked myself into going so I could try doing something new–I told myself maybe I’ll have a good time, but I’ll never know, if I don’t take the chance. Plus maybe I’d meet some new and interesting people. I went to the Flyer’s Den. Lucas was playing pool. I love playing pool and hadn’t played in quite a while, so I joined him. One of the first things he ever said to me was that he asked me if I’d ever tried pot before and I laughed and replied, “No.” Then he paused, and said:”Really? You seem like you have.” I laughed and asked him why he thought that. He told me because of my relaxed behavior. At the time, I did feel more relaxed and more mellow because I was trying not to think about my homework as much.  I kept joking with him that I’m not an expert at pool, but he and I had a fun time anyway. We talked about random and various stuff as we played like music, authors, books, poetry, college, and movies.

We played only a couple games of pool, then he and I decided to randomly walk around on campus. We talked about more various stuff as we walked. We sat over together beside the water fountain at one point. It was strangely easy for me to continue to talk with him. Usually I run out of things to say when I meet someone for the first time or I get more shy. He was very nice, friendly, and understanding though. I felt comfortable and happy being around him. He was fascinating to me and very unique. After I met him, I felt like I had met a soulmate–like a friend soulmate. (I had read about soulmates before years ago, but I had always kind of been skeptical about that idea–how that idea had been explained in articles. It seemed kind of corny.Though I had, years ago, secretly prayed that I would meet someone who I really connected with–who I was on the same wavelength with). However, my skepticism faded some when I met and spoke with Lucas. I had never felt such an amazing connection with anyone like that before for so long. We also talked about and bonded over some serious stuff. At one moment while he and I were talking, that soulmate idea popped into my head. At one point, while we were talking, we lost track of the time. I glanced down at my cellphone.  I was surprised by how late it was. I told him half-heartedly:”I should drive hIMG_6714ome before I get too tired.” He was like, “Yeah. It’s getting late. I should probably go too,” but he and I still sat next to each other for several more minutes. We weren’t in any hurry to leave. We exchanged cell phone numbers with each other, and then I began to walk in the direction towards my car. He asked me where I had parked my car–and I pointed where. He didn’t have to, but he offered to walk with me. I was surprised, but I smiled and replied: “Sure.”  So he walked with me back to my car. I remember thinking: he’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. I was so focused on our conversation that I tripped on a curb and he and I both laughed. After that night, he and I would text each other. He and I had several things in common and I really enjoyed getting to know more about him. I really admired the passion he had for writing his poetry. He inspired me to not give up trying to write interesting poetry of my own. Also, to not give up on my love of writing in general. His kindness and his compassion were beautiful and inspiring to me. I felt astounded I had even met him–he seemed so surreal, but in a good way. I feel very grateful that I met him. That night of pool playing is my favorite memory that I have of Lucas.

-Melissa Gura, Lewis student

___

The Magic in a Moment
In memory of Lucas Boelter

“Do you think the night is magical?” asked the stranger to the left of me during our first class of Writing for the Professions.

He leaned towards me with eyes gleaming of interest—curiosity surrounding him.

I gazed at this guy with a slight puzzled look, trying to analyze his motives for asking me this question. My first thoughts were, “What kind of person asks a stranger if the night is magical?”

Trying to grasp the humor from the situation, I giggled a bit. The strangeness of the icebreaker was both whimsical and awkward.

Of course I thought the evening could be enchanting, but I simply responded, “I guess.” I couldn’t reveal the vulnerability of a more detailed explanation.

The stranger leaned back in his desk chair with a grin on his face, seemingly satisfied that we were in agreement.

At that moment, I didn’t realize that this person was no longer a stranger trying to meddle with my mind.

After a short time had passed, the “he” became Lucas.

And I soon learned that the question epitomized who Lucas was—bizarrely compelling.

Lucas was captivating with his words and had the strange kind of wit that challenged your thoughts.

Lucas was a writer with a fascination of the perplexity of life.

Lucas philosophized about religion, the existence of God, and the purpose of our being.

Lucas was intrigued by Marx and strived for a revolution against society.

Lucas was…
was…
a man with an extraordinary essence.

But, to me, Lucas was most importantly my friend.
And now, when I sit alone in the dead of night,
I will reminisce on how magical the moment is,
letting myself succumb to the moonlight,
remembering Lucas is.

–Stephanie A. Raga, Former JFR Editor, Lewis Alum

10460317_831324316878667_3881507062324790498_n

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