Monday, May 11, 2015

Larry Duncan- Three Poems

After Midnight Melancholia

I sat in Chicago
as I sit now—
a few thousand
miles between—
chin to knuckles,
the mirror wall
behind the bottles
shielding my face,
my loose shoulders
slouching toward

Fourth Street Reverie
This week I’ve eaten four cans of beans
and scraped a few tins of tuna
fish clean over the kitchen sink,
drank a bottle of whiskey,
ground out five thousand words
and stumbled along the chain-link
fence outside the schoolyard.

They forgot to paint the eyes
of the mural painted on the field
house wall. I text my friend.
Someone has to know.
“…made peace today...
the last handful of dirt...
the other’s still outside...
but I like the way the light
falls between the rents…”
There are other words
at the end and in the beginning,
looped around and woven through,
but you get the gist,
or you don’t, either way
it’s all that’s left.

I slip in and out of every spot
on the block, buying four cups
for a dollar at the thrift shop
and a shot on the cuff
from the bartender down
the street because he owes me
for the time I carried
him home the last night
of the only good woman he’d known,
at least that’s the way the song goes
and he’s a heap on the couch either way.

Then I’m into the coffee shop
where my cup waits at the register
and the girl with the lonely tattoo
is always starting a new pot.
“He’ll be here for a while,”
she says, turning her eyes.
There’s only so much
silence a person can take.
Now, she’s leaning
her elbows over the counter,
her fists balled up under her chin,
one more wishing for someplace else.
I still haven’t found my limit.
Soon I’ll be pacing near the bus
stop, smoking cigarettes and mumbling
something about a precipice and dark
water along the rocks, wondering
what eel will raise its back against the waves.

After Midnight Melancholia III

I’m an addict.
I always go back
to brush my fingers
along the edges.

When I was young,
I took to walking
the rails of bridges.
I loved to look down,
to feel the vertigo,
the wetness in my knees,
the stone in my stomach
longing to fall.

I try to forget,
to stand straight,
to turn back to the street,
but the water’s so deep.
Oh well, never mind.
It’s only tomorrow,
and everybody knows

tomorrow…but you
were there once,
in your leopard boots
and we were both smiles.
At least, that’s the way
I like to remember it.
Yesterdays are the same.

Larry Duncan currently lives in Long Beach, CA. He graduated from Chapman University with a BFA in Creative Writing and received his MFA at California State University, Long Beach. His writing has appeared in various online and print magazines, including Juked, My Favorite Bullet, the Mas Tequila Review and the Fat City Review. His Chapbook Crossroads of Stars and White Lightning is available through Arroyo Secco Press. You can learn more about Larry and check out links to his other poetry at his website

No comments:

Post a Comment