At the Crossroads Inn

Late night in a strange town.
What kind of town don’t sell booze
at the corner store?
Can’t get my mind off the
cold tapping of a limb
on the dirty window

and wondering if we ever grow out
of this incessant application
of the same fucking solutions
to the same fucking problems,
never solving anything, never realizing
the solutions are part of the problem.

Maybe even The Problem. I don’t know.
What do I know? I’m no deep thinker.

Not putting up with it for four more nights—
tomorrow I’m calling in a request
to have that damn limb cut off.

The book in the drawer
says to come unto me,
all ye that labour and are heavy
laden. Been told that all my life,
and tried it for most of it.
That promised rest don’t never come.
Don’t never come.

Starting to reckon there’s no one out there,
no one able to give rest, anyway.

Yellow light from the roadside
glimmers through window grime.
It’s not a sign of anything.
Nothing’s a sign of anything.

Sindoor Sun

(Painting by Sunita Khedekar)
Veiled from the setting sindoor sun
by a charcoal roof
and shaded downcast eyes,
I still feel your tears on my face—
what are these thoughts I think
in the gray of a fading day?
Just to know, for my own sake,
I look from the window
as we used to do, to see
if the fishermen’s boats
still glistened in the
setting sindoor sun.


For dVerse. Grace has us writing with color in mind, using artwork by Sunita Khedekar for inspiration. It’s been such a long while since I’ve posted anything, but Sunita’s work is so powerful I just had to give this a go. Click here for info. on sindoor. Please visit dVerse and write something you can share with us; at the very least, you owe it to yourself to check out Sunita’s art. Incredible work!

Lonely Night

Lonely Night
“My solitary watch I keep,”
Bill Monroe sings high lonesome.
“So fare-thee-well I’d rather make
My home upon some icy lake
Where the southern sun refused to shine
Than to trust a love so false as thine.”
a pile of yellow
toenail clippings
thought I threw
those things
with the nonchalance
of god
Yet, why be so theatrical
in your desolation.
In this way
the floor
speaks to me.
I think it means
and I think it is
the floor
            Castaneda asks, What is going to happen now, don Juan?
            Nothing. You won your soul back. It was a good battle.
            You learned many things last night.
(So perhaps that’s where it stands.)
Anna Chamberlain has us going to the edge of meaning and sanity for tonight’s dVerse prompt. Well, anyway, that’s how it seemed to me, as we discovered a variety of experimental poetry techniques. Take the time to read the article—Anna did a great service in providing all the information, and there’s really no good way to summarize it here.

I tried to write spontaneously, piecing together many disparate, jarring sources and images in service of a single theme; however, I think there may be more flow, or at least more noticeable meaning, than one would expect to find in experimental poetry. I couldn’t help it. Hopefully there is enough here to make it fit the prompt. (The quotations are from Bill Monroe’s song “Midnight on the Stormy Deep” and Carlos Castaneda’s book The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.)

Thomas Wolfe: Flower of Love

Thomas Wolfe–the one from North Carolina, author of great novels such as Look Homeward, Angel and You Can’t Go Home Again, not to be confused with the Tom Wolfe who wrote The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test–was born on this day, October 3, 1900. I’ve posted excerpts from Wolfe’s work before. I consider him not only one of the great American writers of all time, but also one of the greatest poets who never published poetry. Luckily, many others have noticed how lyrical and, well, poetic, Wolfe’s prose is, and I am the happy owner of a slim volume of Wolfe’s words lined out as poems. Here is a taste.

O flower of love
Whose strong lips drink us downward into death,
In all things far and fleeting,
Enchantress of our twenty thousand days,
The brain will madden
And the heart be twisted, broken by her kiss,
But glory, glory, glory, she remains:
Immortal love,
Alone and aching in the wilderness,
We cried to you:
You were not absent from our loneliness.

–Thomas Wolfe, selected and arranged in verse
    by John S. Barnes in A Stone, A Leaf, A Door


Tonight at dVerse, our hostess, Victoria Slotto, invites us to write something with voice, passion–something about which we are motivated, inspired, excited, or outraged. This one is not really up to those standards, but it is about an event that held deep feeling for me at that time of my childhood. And I think it does ring with my voice, such as it is (that is, I think it’s typical of the kind of stuff I usually write!). Come share with us!

That blazing afternoon
when I chased an ill-thrown ball
into the front yard, and saw
your shoes beside our car’s
open door, your upturned
purse, and you were nowhere,
and what can you expect
from a boy weaned on
Armageddon and the Imminent
Return of Almighty Christ?
In the twinkling of an eye,
we were told, and the blood
rushed to my hair-tips, and I looked
for you, would not be comforted.
And later, you came home and told us
how you saw little Randy
running across the street, careless,
and the black low-slung sports car
screeching, flinging him into the air,
and before he came tumbling down
you had dropped your purse, run out
of your shoes, and he would be
all right, just a few broken bones,
but I thought you were gone
to be with Jesus, one taken
and the other one left,
and never again have I felt
so alone.