Apr/May 2005 Poetry

Two Poems

by Christopher Watkins

as we remember

evaporated milk
and a frozen-over quonset
a tv with an antenna rabbit
crooked training wheels
and three good feet of snow
the fur around the collar of a jacket

a dirt bike in the rain
the street all full of flood
and the rusty razor blades of october
in and out of pain
like an old war wound
we're never quite as whole as we remember

the football fields of rome
and the coliseum cats
an emphysemic corriera della serra
another language written
with aldo moro's blood
and nights as black as mascara

sweet coal candy
and gunshots in the air
and propellers that can cut like a blender
fading in and out
like fireflies and lightning
we're never quite as whole as we remember

a sorghum field in kansas
and the churches in the city
and the sick pale yellow of the gravy
a heavy leather apron
and a brand-new old guitar
and the oakland of a long-gone navy

a soft collegiate hill
and a full reservoir
a rapist in a place to lose a quarter
red threading the buses
and green threading the water
still we're never quite as whole as we remember

walls of steel and leather
a razor and a shoe-black
punch and judy still for entertainment
a dreamscape full
of a hundred broken organs
each and every one demanding payment

memory and history
fiction each and equally
all letters stamped with return to sender
a jigsaw's worth of guessing
all the even pieces missing
and we're never quite as whole as we remember


jackson street

this one-eyed beast of a train
she burrows through this red clay land
leaking smoke from the holes in her crown
she stretches sixty cars long
and chews tobacco like a nun
and she's bound for some railyard town

oh, these crazy wet mountains
with their evil and their scars
people get buried nightly in these canyons
and i feel just like an elk
standing stoic and alone
the twitching of my nose my only motion

sixty coaches long
and every one a flat-bed
like a snake's shadow crawling low and slow
and the time change goes un-noticed
by all save for a hawk
who glides in circles deciding where to go

and there's nothing else but nothing
as far as i can see
oh, what i wouldn't give to be...

sitting on my front porch
smelling the new falling rain
coming down on jackson street
and smelling sweet as a young pony's mane


Previous Piece Next Piece