Tag Archives: Pete Mladinic

Cavalry

By Pete Mladinic

Schaeffer writes:

Jeanne, before your grandfather 
was your grandfather, one afternoon
he towered in a door at the top of stairs
that led from the breezeway to a foyer:
a black fedora, full, trim white mustache,
black jacket, across his black vest a silver
watch chain.
I was five.  Looking up at him laughing I felt
alone, frozen there.

Three years later, in your cellar with its tiles
and knotty pine,
a daguerreotype from before the Great War:
his mustache a dark handlebar,
he wore a blouse, at his side a sheathed
saber, a tassel on its grip.
In the old country
he rode in the cavalry of Kaiser Wilhelm.

He towered in a door at the top of stairs,
the fedora’s tilt to one side.
Looking up I shriveled into the trim
of his white mustache,
misery white hot, balled
inside, three years before you were born.


Peter Mladinic’s poems have recently appeared in Neologism, Adelaide, the Mark, Ariel Chart, 433, Art Villa and other online journals.  He lives with six dogs in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Forgot Kid in Bar

By Pete Mladinic

Schaeffer has his favorite this
and that.  His favorite female singer,
Nancy Bradley, would be his age,
she died decades before he heard her
voice, such depth, clarity and range.
She chain smoked, and cigarettes
were not helping, nor was alcohol.
She married and had a daughter,
a short troubled marriage and finally
her ex got custody of the daughter,
but before that, there was a day or
night Nancy, in a bar, got so drunk
she walked, or stumbled or staggered
out of the bar, not aware her kid
an infant was there.  Good singers
do bad things sometimes, or don’t do
what they should, or like leave
the infant with a sitter or something
Nancy neglected to do.  It’s a story
Schaeffer heard, but mostly her voice
what remains is the thing, a voice
to his ear like no other, such range
clarity, the voice of Nancy Bradley,
what she’s remembered for, renown
to those who appreciate her songs.


Peter Mladinic’s poems have recently appeared in Neologism, Adelaide, the Mark, Ariel Chart, 433, Art Villa and other online journals.  He lives with six dogs in Hobbs, New Mexico.