Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel




Cover Art: Éctor Sandoval

 ISBN: 978-1-937030-43-8



Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel’s poetry is a solid and defiant, not a ‘broken, mirror-glass,’ of our world’s crude reality, and the epitome of our common fears. With pride Wohkittel claims his status: ‘I am the poet bringing forth a new face and character’ (Character). Knight of the word, he denounces man’s war games that have tainted our Weltanschauung with a lyrical strength grown thru four previous books of poetry and invigorated one free verse after the other. ‘The war sun’ has burnt soldiers’ eyes, and those of politicians as well; even if ‘the sun eventually became peaceful’, as Wohkittel would like us to believe, it might have blinded our poet for good, turning him into a modern Tiresias, a prophet inspired by furious Gods and condemned to chant ‘the seasons of years of rejuvenation’ forever (Porcelain Duck).

No poet can balance the petals of the dogwood,’ warns the New Jersey bard (Flowering, Trees, and Bush), but he certainly will not satisfy himself in being just a mere spectator of our glories and failures, accompanied by Muse Terpsichore's lyre. Poet Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel is an actor and a soldier, brother among brothers at King Henry V’s side on the Eve of Saint-Crispin’s Day at the Battle of Agincourt, ‘five hundred years of mattes’ (Dance). Peasant, he sees faith and doubt in Joan of Arc’s eyes, walking with her from Domremy to Reims. He might even have guided her to find the French King within the assembly of Nobles (C’en est donc fait du scandale de la Croix?).

Moreover, Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel is not just a poet, he is an American poet.  That was most evident already with his first two volumes of poetry, Once Empires, and above all, Requium. Poems of the Vietnam War and the Cold War. His critical patriotism shines throughout this new volume, Perigee. Empathy for the fallen righteous one – Dallas, ‘the shot’ – and shame for the corrupt one – ‘Nixon of Warren’ – ; but...wait a minute: was the righteous so righteous after all? ‘Kennedy’s mob became…Nixon’s.’ Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel is neither gulled nor dumb. He is the fou du roi, King’s jester more than buffoon. Only the poet can mock all the modern elected sovereigns and their ‘historical rationale’ (Boston’s Austrian Banks).

Like French Revolution poet André Chénier before him, Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel is a ‘Patriot of signs’ (Allaire). He scolds the weak and the coward. Reminding us of his most recently published book of poetry, The Eagle and the Parrot, Wohkittel knows well that for one eagle crossing the Delaware River on his way to immortal glory, there are many parrots crossing either the Watergate Building or the Oval Office’s door with a female intern on their way to flirt with infamy and the damnatio memoriae, or as Wohkittel puts it: ‘The Narratives of the White House or its IMPOSTEURS’ (Isolated).  

Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel’s poetry is certainly a renewed call for Impeachment time after time, from the Persian Gulf (To Helen) to Iran-Contra (Deus Ex Machina); but it is also a never satisfied thirst for justice. Like Martin Luther King, Jr. before him in his ‘I Have a Dream’s Speech,’ Wohkittel ‘refuses to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt’.  The poet urges us to protect ourselves from all ‘militant guards of the Forts of Illegitimacy’ (Last, Rose of Autumn, or, Last, Rose), defining his eminent role through his verses, which is writing ‘the narratives of the wounding’ (Perigee). Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel, one of the most noble and demanding consciences of modern America, is ‘the brown pelican [who] timelessly defines the wave line/Between the red and blue and ocean and sky’ (Pelican Visitation).

Corresponding Member of the Academy of Letters,
Bahia, Brasil,
Poet, playwright, and novelist, author of,
Cantos Paraguayos. Poemas de Libertad
France, terre lointaine. Po
èmes de l'errance (2011);
Curuguaty. Poema lírico
Enfances sous les lapachos. Poèmes
El Banquete de Tonatiuh. Poema lírico



‘Jean-Charles Jeffrey Wohkittel es un poeta americano de poesía vigorosa y no siempre fácil, de gran riqueza y selección de lenguaje. En su condición de norteamericano emana un patriotismo crítico ante el mundo internacional y ante el desempeño histórico que ha venido cumpliendo su nación. No lo puede eludir.  Es la condición de un poeta hijo de una sociedad que se basta a sí misma, pero que inevitablemente debe enfrentar otras culturas que difícilmente llega a comprender (la carencia de sentido de alteridad, diríase). De ahí derivan sus errores tropiezos graves y callejones sin salida que suelen caracterizar su política internacional (Vietnam, Irak, etc…)’. 


Juan Enrique Fischer                                                                                                                                             
Former Uruguayan Ambassador                                                                                                                               
to the United Kingdom


      Porcelain Duck


Early spring, somewhere in the thickly settled midst

Of this Tidal River and Jersey Shore bordered

Bedroom Community village, a nesting pair

Of mallard ducks may be found foraging unescorted

For seed and ducky snacks on a neighbor’s lawn,

Or resting in the sun, waiting, for the equinox to pawn

Their avian humanity for egg-warming weather:

Then to be seen accompanied by their brood

Of fluffy, tumbling hatchlings, recently emerged,

Of unregimented Chinese order, from the secret wood

Of shrubbery; their roosting, good and dry, threading

Their way back to the streams and habitat of their wedding.


In a week after the hatch, the ducks and hatch are gone.

My neighbor, to compensate for this unannounced

And undisclosed non-public loss of his mates,

Has purchased a mother and two ducklings silenced

In porcelain materiél, to take their place in the sun:

A memory, their ritual nature, a priest and his nun.

Despite the obvious intrusion of the wild presence,

Few neighbors took notice by spoken comment, save

The substitute memento of porcelain duck: the mallards

Arrived and departed within spring’s flowery wave.

Yet no-one preserved their contribution or the precious

Hatch. The ducks, endangered by the civil and tenacious,

Both mattered greatly or of the lack mattered not at all.

The seasons of years of rejuvenation pass unnoticed,

Unless recorded within by some local, written history.

The merits memorializing thereon the ducky topic said,

Is silent, and debate for the next aqueous brood bred.

Ignoring the gap, the civil, of the wild, married:

Divides duck and man: as a brown-capped chickadee

Takes up his “human” perch on the ceramic duck’s head,

So contrasted the immutability of nature’s antidæen sea.






                          To Helen ---


Summer’s civilized, afternoon flotilla, of clouds,

A ceiling as an inverted surface of an ocean,

Flatiron grey, or, U.S. Navy’s paint, resolution,

Beneath irregularly stacked fistfuls of cotton,

Raw and unseeded, their alleged bridges in shrouds!


Musing on this coasting seascape over land,

One might ponder, in Irak, in théâtre,

Do these ships reflect the warrior metre,

“The face that launched a thousand ships,” and see her

Goddess’s visage, motive, in our Army’s command,


Operation Enduring Freedom? Theatrical training,

Does report back parameters, some perceptible,

Seeing this flotilla’s clouds, classically intelligible,

Reflecting a Persian Gulf relatively peaceable,

The action, only past onshore, not a sonnet remaining!


             Deus Ex Machina

The Star of David appeared east of Bethleem,

In the direction of Mesopotamia, Persia,

Above Baghdad; so, the American Army, de l’Asie,

Returns to God’s Little Acre antique sem;

’75, World War II, the injuries, le terroir, cim[1],

The treaty, the mail-bag white, à la nasse[2],

Twenty-eight years, since ’03, thirty-three,

The Gulf States, uncertain, scriptural scene:


Now, two centuries past Peace, Napoleon l’I

And Anthony Frank’s Post Office, Iran-Contra,

Comes Tommy Franks’ sortie to follow Christ;

The Star of David, the rival Firmament’s Sun;

Appears in its withdrawn orbit, Galaxia Intra:

Barabbas’ clamor, praising the interregnum’s heist!


[1]  le cimetière

[2]  du Messie/ à la Messe


         Mid-Morning in Mid-November


Pedestrian in a daylight fog

Heading back to my haunts in a sortie for news

A white moon sunlight breaking through

The shore mist, a cloud of colorless hue

Touching down to the ground, wafts

Between houses, and towering trees

Colored in Champagne shades of oranges,

Red berries, and pears, shifting, imbues


The scene with mood as a woman, striking,

Intelligent, educated, tossing her ample hair

Captures every artist’s eye at the show;

And a shadow as a cloud, scudding, where,

Fleeting across the paths of the sun,

The colors of autumn trees are caught,

When in the curve the shadow swoops

And blackens the spectrum wave of thought,


The blackest of black hawks magnificently

Hunts, darts and waves, and coasts

On the current, wing-fingers, feathers

Spread, five feet, the spectacle, he hosts

Almost silently before below

An uncounted number of spectators

Maybe none but the pedestrian

Autumn scene’s seasonal vectors.


 Variation of Azalea of White Lilac


Classic red and hugging it in surround,

Unusual peach, magenta, violet and white,

The lower azalea bush, such a natural

Spray rarely seen, and flush above it


The glory of white lilac’s heavenly scent.

So, the pedestrian passes by the season.

Knowing he has passed lilacs and azaleas

Before; but no spectra of light, ever, so lent.


The next time the pedestrian passes the design

Will be gone. Green the azalea, dormant

The lilac, aquamarine. He will not notice

As he will not estimate other sites that want


Color or composition, in perspective, at location

Across the field, of this capable view, of variation.


       Landscape with Ducks


A pair of nesting mallard ducks

Heads twisted and tucked

Between feathers; bills

Behind wing’s sleeping quills;


The affluvial pink of dogwood petals

In spring. Pastel petals, unfolded

Of winter wood; space of no metals

But metallic color: wood unblindfolded.


In a background of trees, another, blood red!

Thicker of leaf than the March dogwood;

More of a screen; of the decorative bed

In this landscaped garden common good.


Then, next, and above, burnt red and red-brown,

A taller, rounder, brown maple deeper

Shaded the leafy lamination’s unsown gown;

Landscape with ducks, the architect, usurper!


Pelican Visitation


Socioeconomic frustrations: that dwell and promote

Reaction to impressments, success, career individual

Professional, tranquility and domestic violence,

Alliance, amity or provocation, in

The man-dominated, “built environment”

Culture, or, constructed social territories;

Are greeted at the shore-line, beach-front,

With a pre-historic visitor, the brown pelican.


This truly ante-diluvian, larger cousin

Of the cormorant, has not been seen

Hereabouts for fourteen years. A true brown,

The pelican dives like an osprey, also brown

And white, but is not a hawk. Its fierceness

Lies in the texture, in the ocean it hunts,

And the dark end of the spectrum it contracts.


More of another direction before the mast

Than a hiatus in the system of the habitat.

As a bird of prey, think of a prayer of justice,

As a definer of true color of plumage;

Think of its putting-in a rare appearance

On the banks as arbiter of the Deal;

The scandalous “Justice” deal that compromises

All truth, by the one who gets the fish!


The brown pelican timelessly defines the wave line

Between the red and blue and ocean and sky.

Its plumage marks the visitations that establish

The light spectrum separating blue and black

And red, of sunlight yellow or white gold.

Without the pelican prismatic appearance, a color

That would not be, of the difference, a physical reality.


À la différence. As its own entity,

The pelican’s plumage deploys a timed color

Only its own, transcending deluge and scripture.

Its infrequency of appearance punctuates its frequency,

Not seen for years; when seen, the pelican, redefines

The verifiable understanding of the time segment

In which the pelican was, not seen, no participant,

In the daytime sunlight continuum of measuring, … .


The nominative brown suggestion is an history.

Today, of ocean’s Iraq to Nam’s George Brown,

President of NATO, and General George S. Brown

Of Korea’s Herbert Brownell, Attorneys General.

An hemi-century, more, that evolved

Out of social justice the Justice “Deal.”

A notorious, an infamous, lit de justice,


The brown pelican punctuates, hunting and fishing.

One dive penetrates the span of littoral time.

Whitaker Hiss, Munich Games, Al Fatah:

The infinite ennemie, German Israeli, series:

George Hanover, Saxe-Coburg, Profumo:

Marie Avignon of Viet Viennese Terror.

The Justice “Deal” for Gassy Knoll money.

The pelican strikes the ocean surface for fish.


In place of the pelican presence of visitation

With its sense of balance brought to the scene,

The Justice Deal is cut and made and nailed

Shut to second opinions of conscience and review;

Brownell and fifty years of Brown Music;

Nixon, Bork, the Ave Maria Law School

Of Law, the absent pelican, and the lawless sea.



Once Empires










 studied poetry and literary stylistics at Wesleyan University, before becoming Program Director for National Security Affairs. 

He is the acclaimed author of:

The Eagle and the Parrot. Poems.

Requium. Poems of the Vietnam War and the Cold War.

Solitaire. Poems.

Once Empires.











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