Monday, September 1, 2008

Adam Clay

Bad Luck Candlesong

Do what you will with the dirty pictures of your first lover:
The wind can still bang a screen door off its hinges
And simple myths, like mirrors, will continue to bootlick
In the back of your mind. It seems natural to fall in love
At a funeral, the way a body shivers under weight,
The way those drinks stain the collars of your shirts.
Look all you want, you can piss into the face of oblivion,
You can turn it on, turn it off again. Staring at the sun
May take your vision, but the light will be infinite
And repeating. When it seems to go, stare hard at nothing,
Think of the dirt in your body, and it will be light again.

Radio Girl

Driving the Natchez Trace, I tune the radio
to sixteen ten AM for Parkway info. It's cold
out, but the girl's voice is sticky as swamp
as she describes four hundred miles of sunken footpaths,
Indian mounds, and lush Southern scenery. This dotted
line goes all the way to Nashville. I consider going,
gassing up, and driving north. Maybe the radio girl
will be waiting in Nashville, maybe she's lonely
and drunk, scanning her Silvertone radio
for someone like her, someone trying to describe
this much road in these few words, the December
cold creeping calmly through her doors,
past her sweater to her Tennessee bones,
where we can both brace ourselves for the weather
to turn itself warm, for the leaves to bud
their insistence back onto the windswept trees.

-both poems first published in South Story

Love Poem

A baseball crashed through my kitchen window
and landed in the coffee cup you found in the dirt
and mailed to me. Everything arcs. I looked east
and read the words you wrote in cursive
above the red seam. Yes: what happens behind glass,
stays behinds glass. When the sun is just overhead,
the roads between here and there turn to soil,
grab hold of the land, and begin to bend.

-first published in Konundrum Engine Literary Review

Damaged Pigments

Milk bottles, vein-paper, soap
boxes, chicken bones all strung
Along telephone wires where squabs peck needle-holes
Into the dense white, seeking marrow that will be carpet dust
When it touches air. It’s Thursday so the barking dogs
Outside the windows are prerecorded and will loop
Until it starts to rain and morning notices noon
Still sleeping on the back of a derelict’s burnt hand. Loaves
Of peanut bread, stolen from the hospital, were found
Bobbing in the pear-glistening bend of the river, at least five
Miles away—that’s why the plastic leaves are being blown
Into the downtown air from a reversible electric vacuum,
Silently—the sky seemed smudged before it turned
Oat-colored. Yes—it’s Fall, despite what our calendars
Say. Nodding, let us cart cords of wood to Carolina’s tomb.

-first published in Tarpaulin Sky Poetry

Question About Death At Breakfast

The Frosted Mini-Wheats
go bad August third next year.
Two percent milk expired yesterday.
According to deathclock
dot com, I'll go bad April
second, two thousand fifty-two.
I pour the milk over the cereal,
see my reflection in the spoon,
and wonder if I, too, might be good
for a day (or two) after I'm
supposed to expire.

-first published in TPR Poetry

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