April 9 – Dick Westheimer

Lorenzo Judges

Welcome to National Poetry Month and Gyroscope Review’s month-long celebration of poets – and their diverse Writing Assistants. Enjoy the audio/video works by previous Gyroscope Review poets and be sure to check out the Author and fun Writing Assistant Bio at the end of each NPM poet post. Don’t forget to tag the poet on Social Media and let them know you enjoyed their work!



How am I to deal with this—that somewhere
in the universe, two stars the size of cities collide

and their union creates something so fearsome inside
that all the light falls in, annihilates, cannot tear

itself from the inescapable gullet of the thing, except:
a ball of blue hues and pale fire profuses, expands

aural, as if released from the dead. And this demands
of me that I see darkness differently, that it’s the deep that accepts

light, that even a black hole cannot contain a halo,
and a single star on a coal black night dilutes despair. 

And yet, somehow every moment of joy feels so precarious,
like when I lie with my wife, I calculate (as if I could know)

how many such nights remain that I will feel her moss soft
body fold into mine, until death’s infinite gravity exacts its cost.


Hate Pain Love Sting

I hate blackberries, how their ripening comes 
in the season when ground-hornets erupt 
in numbers from their nests, how the sweetest
fruit is hidden among the fiercest thorns,

that no matter how aggressively I prune, 
the canes grow lank and menacing, 
like whips in the hands of some god 
whose purpose is to remind me 

that at some point I must pay to get 
at those berries right at the time they’re prepared 
to warm my chin with juice that’s honeyed 
enough to charm those goddam hornets 

from any lures. I must be willing to bleed, 
to tear my garments like some bible prophet 
when their god is blasphemed. And yes,
it’s the berry cane that gives me so much 

more than I can offer, which makes
it and me like lovers I guess—the giving, the pain, 
the fruit and its juices, the tears and the taking, 
the love and its making, the blossom and the bee.


Ergo (the footrest formerly known as “Amazon’s Choice ErgoFoam Adjustable Foot Rest Under Desk”) was abandoned in a cardboard box on our front porch during the pandemic.  After much research, we traced Ergo’s original home (an abusive one, where he was forced to work under the boot of a beer advertising copy writer) was “cogito, ergo sum” — a situation absolutely unsuitable to Ergo’s poetic sensibilities.

Now in its forever home, Ergo has lovingly comforted my feet through multiple drafts of rhyming sonnets, failed attempts at sestinas, and most generously offered me comfort and accepted my feet even as I’ve received over 300 rejection letters in the last two years. 

Ergo favorite poem is Pablo Neruda’s “Your Feet” from which it often quotes the last few lines: “But I love your feet / only because they walked / upon the earth and upon /the wind and upon the waters, / until they found me.”


Dick Westheimer lives in rural southwest Ohio, his home for over forty years with his wife and writing companion, Debbie. He is the winner of the 2023 Joy Harjo Poetry Prize, a Rattle Poetry Prize finalist, a Pushcart, and Best of the Net nominee. His poems have appeared or are upcoming in Whale Road Review, Rattle, Innisfree, Stone Poetry Quarterly, Abandon Journal, and Minyan. His chapbook, A Sword in Both Hands, Poems Responding to Russia’s War on Ukraine, is published by SheilaNaGig.    More at www.dickwestheimer.com

Don’t forget to read the Spring 2024 Issue of Gyroscope Review.

NPM 2024 Poets

April 1 – Cal Freeman

April 2 – Susanna Lang

April 3 – Marion Brown

April 4 – Melissa Huff

April 5 – Elaine Sorrentino

April 6 – Alison Stone

April 7 – Alexandra Fössinger

April 8 – Laurie Kuntz

April 9 – Dick Westheimer