Please don’t feel obligated to put notes to all of these or any of these. If something stirs or moves or you see something that could help me find the next draft. I’d really like to read some work from all our peeps in here. Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday and New Year! And thank you, Robert, for all your work and prompts and brilliance!
BLOODIED MY FAVORITE TURQUOISE BLUE KICKS
We were in the thick and the barley, the ghost stalks of corn, and the near-frozen clover. Nearly overcome by the just-sprouted hops two fields over. Loads of hairy cows watched us, mad-curious, from the sparse hills and rocks. The old bull paced and rubbed against the rusted-out dump. The cold, broken forge and that singular oak. The road was cut like a gash. You called me a sight of wild hair against all that backdrop; showed me how to twist the paper and set it between the logs. You are a source of light and heat when everything else is not. You read to me as a way to talk. Fucked me as a way to song. A top five day, I would tell the Angel; I would riddle the bridge-troll; I would rattle the chains and locks. And you were so careful where you had always been rough—as not to hurt me where I had cut.
WINTER SOLSTICE, PAST MIDNIGHT AT THE QUICKCHEK ON MAPLE
The neon green of the 24-hour convenience store reflects in the parking lot puddle. A pothole in the shape of Seneca Falls, full of dirty snow and oil. It’s a Wonderful Life plays on a small TV screen above the deli counter. The part where George Bailey stalls at the kiss, tells Mary her mouth will overtake the moon. My brother, all wraith, in a t-shirt and jeans swings the door open to the sound of bells. An unlit cigarette hangs from his lips. He says, hey mister, you have the time?
ODE AND WAKE
When we die I want to be set apart from, then—made a constellation of descending bright—elbows tethered to knees. Twinning archers bow and mountain peaks, interlocking hands and rings; an ocean of us crescendos against the abyss. Arrive an unmade bed.
IRISH ON THE COUNTY COLLEGE RISE
Under the window-ledge, the waters race,
Chased the long length of barrow, late.
First morning class. Resigned to the right-handed
wooden tablet chair, my legs full of running and sleep.
The professor was British, Indian descent,
an uninhibited shoulder-length curl in his still
dark hair. He called me, James.
Loved all things Irish. Spoke of finest tweed,
dúidín pipe, his wooly peaked cap.
For him, there was only one kind of whiskey.
Claimed the grades got kinder
the deeper he dove into drink.
Handed me my papers last.
I was diffident; made for the back corner
by the window. He broke into Yeats with the sight of me.
The view from the mound,
the tree line of Paper birch (a smoky white)
obscured the breadth of campus,
a fallen-despair parking lot in northwest New Jersey.