All the Doubles Never Known
Doubles are never thought about much.
A primary mode of existence, they shape
Minds like water inflated balloons.
They float about, particles in space, exist
As three dimensional twins, patterns
Projecting outward shaping myth.
Doublemint twins so wholesome,
Encapsulating an America still possessed
Of a moral and ethical center not out of
Double down in poker, marriage, lovers.
Staring down a double barreled shotgun.
Loitering over twin bra cups loosened by
The wrong person. Sliding into the second
Relationship off a long double—out.
Biblical doublets that are not just
Binary bedfellows boasting reality.
Double servings of just about anything—
Double martinis, double rum and coke—after
2 a.m. double trouble. Double jeopardy lying
Like perfume on both shoulders.
50s televised twin beds, Puritan single
Twining introduced by the Mayflower and
The Arabella. Double meanings for double
Lives. Binary stars pulsating with double drum
beats doubling over in double time. Tennis doubles
playing a different game off the court.
Double lanes leading to nowhere. At the end the
Doppelganger dancing in double time.
Be Careful of Stuff
When the wheels wobble and come off,
shadows cast clouds, the sky becomes bronze.
The caged bird looks at it all and doesn’t sing.
That is the spell that the tilt-a-whirl rejects
circus clowns. Time for house cleaning.
You know that you have to wear the cleanest,
dirty shirt, sweep away the cobwebs, listen
not to lowing animals on the radio. Keep focused.
This too will pass. Break out ancient texts for help.
The Bible, Iliad, and Aeneid are ok, but beware
Odysseus. Smoke that book in your pipe and end
up being drowned by sirens, the police looking for
you because the wheel flew off and decimated poor
Ms. Clary’s poodle. Just as well. She didn’t want it
anyway because it could never be housetrained, just
like your last girlfriend, the hoarder, who nearly
drowned you with 24 pitchers of zero water.
Two zodiacs there, 12 and 12; you damn sure know
to avoid Scorpio. Get a wheelbarrow and keep emptying
out. If nothing works, stop and pray, send in money
to a needy televangelist. Get on the prayer list.
Maybe you’ll get a spanking new wheel sent down
At dusk the blackbirds sprang up
From the stubble of a van Gogh
in unison, primitive force explosion.
A storm cloud of matted ink periods
moving simultaneously in harmony
like a barbershop quartet.
The flock was not broken, knew what
to do without knowing. An ancient
unity possessed them, but it was
the two of us standing in the cold,
watching, that needed exorcism
where we were mute
in the silence spanning years
of slammed doors, broken dishes,
flicker of TVs in separate rooms.
The blackbirds wheeling now like
an angry storm funneled up as an
some dark opal collection, not
the broken thing we were seeking respite.
We peered at them
where they vanished like some medieval
specter at the thin edge of the field.
We knew they understood earth's
magnetic cello sounding out through
the stream of their thoughts, flapping
wings, a text carved against the twilight, a
bitter bible we did not wish to read,
for we tongued the testament.
Ralph Monday is an Associate Professor of English at Roane State Community College in Harriman, TN., where he teaches composition, literature, and creative writing courses. In fall 2013 he had poems published in The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Fiction Week Literary Review, and was represented as the featured poet with 12 poems in the December issue of Poetry Repairs. In winter 2014 he had poems published in Dead Snakes. Summer 2014 had a poem in Contemporary Poetry: An Anthology of Best Present Day Poems. His work has appeared in publications such as The Phoenix, Bitter Creek Review, Full of Crow, Impressions, Kookamonga Square, Deep Waters, Jacket Magazine, The New Plains Review, New Liberties Review, Crack the Spine, The Camel Saloon, Dead Snakes, Jellyfish Whispers, Pyrokinection, Red River Review, Burningword and Poetry Repairs. Featured Poet of the week May, 2014 Poetry Super Highway. Forthcoming: Poems in Blood Moon Rising. Crack the Spine best of anthology and Down in the Dirt Magazine. His poetry has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and Houghton Mifflin’s “Best of” Anthologies, as well as other awards. A book, Empty Houses and American Renditions will be published by Hen House Press in Fall 2014.