Jeff Tigchelaar


Jeff Tigchelaar



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Jeff TigchelaarJeff Tigchelaar is a stay-at-home dad residing in Lawrence. A former newspaper reporter and editor, his poems appear in journals including Coal City Review, Flint Hills Review, Flyway, Fugue, Rhino, The Laurel Review, North American Review, and Kansas City Voices, as well as in anthologies including Verse Daily, Best New Poets 2011, and A Ritual to Read Together: Poems in Conversation with William Stafford.


His work received a fellowship from the Ohio Arts Council and the 2010 Langston Hughes Award in Poetry. His poem “One Way of Looking at Thirteen Blackbirds” was reviewed at www.cellpoems.org


Jeff’s maintains the blog, Stay-at-Home Pop Culture.








You Are Here


Light drips down

from the capitol dome. Coffee

flows up through

veins, and all is not for

nothing, governor, nothing

is for naught when it’s made

for the benefit of everyone and the self

walking certain streets at

an uncertain hour


Previously Published in seveneightfive



Report to William Stafford

                        Kansas, 2011


The poets were all

but defeated


They still wrote – still followed

the golden thread, as you said –

but only for themselves, it seemed


Which is all just

an artsy way of saying

We are now the only state in America without

an Arts Council and man it’s embarrassing



If you were still around maybe you’d go

find the governor and read him

something full of kindness and light

that might change his mind and his life


Your art has had and will have better days


I bought your book at a Borders       I’m sorry to say

it had been there awhile      I could tell


though you I’m sure would not have

minded the dust


I found it on a back shelf


Other books had gathered around

as if to listen


Previously Published in The Southeast Review









All poetry on this page
© by
Jeff Tigchelaar, 2013



One Way of Looking at Thirteen Blackbirds


A black cat crossing your path is bad for luck, it’s said.

But to cross the path of thirteen blackbirds –

that has to be a sign. There’s meaning

in the way they’re sitting on that line

side by shadowy side,

yellow eyes unblinking,

staring down at you

all of one mind,

just waiting

to dive.


Previously Published in Redactions



Late Snack

Tonight I finally ate the edible panties  

my wife brought back from a bridal shower.

They’d been in a bedside drawer

these past seven years,

beneath a bunch of other stuff: dust-

covered notepads, brittle

scraps of yellowed paper,

an old Bible, good

as new.

I’d never read the writing on the box

before tonight, but the package was full of promise:

Contents: One undie. Piña colada

with rum. Ideal for hors d’oeuvres,

quickie lunches, Sunday brunches… But it wasn’t

without some words of warning as well,

like Novelty item only and

Garment will dissolve

in water or excessive moisture.

And this mandatory health hazard:

Contains saccharin, it cautioned,

which has been determined to cause cancer

in laboratory animals.

And then there was the model.

A brief glance was all it took to see

she didn’t exactly make the product look


But tacky photos and frightening fine print  

were not enough to turn me off tonight.

My appetite couldn’t be curbed.

I took. I ate. It tasted

     …clean (for such

dirty merchandise)

and by that I mean

it tasted like soap.

     I’d never pictured the scene

this way – me

in bed alone (save for

a sleeping baby across my lap),

too tired, too lazy

to get up, to go

to the kitchen for a snack …

I’d never imagined

my wife would be out of town

the night the edible panties finally went down.

Previously Published in Harpur Palate, Vol. 7.1, 2007


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