OUT OF THE PAST
Dark circles under bloodshot eyes,
creases running down the sides of
her mouth, face as pale as any
inmate in jail, those cascades of
golden hair that made men stop
and stare, tangled, unkempt. She
looked burned out, spent.
“Lorraine,” I almost whispered.
Sensing me, maybe, she looked up
from her drink, saw my reflection
sitting beside her’s in the barroom
mirror just like old times. She didn’t
I swallowed hard at the coincidence.
And then she closed her eyes. This
blast from the past couldn’t last. She
must have been thinking. It was a trick
of the eye, some other guy.
When she opened them I was gone.
I left a fifty next to her whiskey.
I had to pay for my own drunk when
she split on me.
Those cascades of golden hair which
made men stop and stare.
Too hard, too soft, too hot, too cold,
nothing was ever quite right for her.
Goldilocks we really rocked. I’m
out of here. I wish you luck.
Crawl for cover,
feel death’s finger
slide up your spine
as bullets fly and your
Think of your mother,
brother, sister, father,
lover, your Uncle Sam
who got you into this
jam fighting for your life
Tell the rosary on the beads
of sweat that run down your
face, neck. Turn a deaf ear
to the moans and groans all
around you that send shocks
through your bones.
Now you are alone, wasting
away in a back street cheap room,
shot to shit at sixy-six from all
the bad habits you picked up in
combat: drugging, boozing,
hiding from the enemy which
came to be reality.
You survived the ambush that
day and many more that came
But they made you pay.
BUTTERFLIES ARE FREE
I slice through the rain, collar up,
head down, the Regal Street rooftops
blocking the brunt of the onslaught.
The game gets out of hand now and
then, doesn’t it, when you’re living
“free and mean” as they say in the Slam?
Working against time, hard and harder,
and never getting any smarter, you get
to wonder how many nuts you can crack
before they send you back.
The chain link fences, how hard to climb?
The blackened windows with electronic
alarms, the double bolted doors, are you
Look back at the child, hunched and
hungry, gawking at all those glittering
streets paved with money.
The night train has no destination.
I hopped it without hesitation.
Everyone on it heading the same way,
looking out the windows at the years that
disappear, no stops ‘til you get there,
end of the line nowhere.
Fireflies and stars, fields of flowers,
you miss them most when you’re
behind those bars.
Rex Sexton is a Surrealist painter exhibiting in Philadelphia and Chicago. His short story “Holy Night” received the Editor’s Choice Award in the Eric Hoffer Award competition and was published in Best New Writing 2007. Recent poems have been published in reviews such as Mobius, The Poetry Magazine, Waterways, Edgz, Ardent and Taproot, recent fiction in Saranac Review, The Long Story, Straylight, Left Curve, Children, Churches and Daddies, Art Times, and Foliate Oak.
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