sweet release

what sort of storm

washed him up here

on this concrete beach

of late-night neon sun

thin as a one-eyed jack

back to the wall

arm extended

for loose change,

like the handle

of a slot machine,

waiting for

another jerk

buzz on the street says:

he was a shooting star

across the corporate

skyline, a player

on his way up --

when an addiction

to the nightlife

left him with

a bad gambling jones --

"all-in" on everything

from roulette

to rolling bones

now every evening

after sundown

he's on the sidewalk

panhandling hard

until he fills up

an old dixie-cup

with enough coins

to walk in a casino

& repeat

the sweet release

that comes with

once again losing it all.

hearts & minds

joined by a rope

& circumstance

they're dragged, stumbling

across the compound

sacks over their heads

stick-thin in black silk --

bent figures

that will not be broken


heels to the face

arms twisted

to impossible angles

.45s across bony skulls

nothing -

silent like rain

in the distance

watching, i wonder --

is it crazy courage

that holds their tongues,

or simple ignorance

could any of them

give up anything

worth this much pain --

the precious prisoner,

hidden by a hood, swallowing

the blood-spattered key

to the hearts

& minds of the people

another unforgiving day --

the burning eye

of the sun

beats down

like judgment.

Blues musician/poet, originally from South Carolina, now resides in Watertown,

Has had poetry published on-line in: ken*again , Adagio Verse Quarterly,
LauraHird.COM, Zygote In My Coffee, Remark, Underground Voices, Sacramento Poetry
Art & Music, and others. Has appeared in print in: Aesthetica, Circle Magazine,
Shadow Poetry, My Favorite Bullet and Open Wide Magazine.

2004 Underground Voices