Poems by James H Duncan

Nothing and you

I want nothing and you, and where has it gone?
the bottles and charm of a Saturday night
flightless as a dead sparrow under the wheel
yet your red hair whispers, rolling through your fingers
showing such haunting promise in the neon gloom
reminding me that we used to dance after midnight
in the shadows outside the roadhouse, the red barn,
in the headlights of the field party at midnight

was there a call and answer I missed
somewhere out in the cinnamon smoke?
can this returned mail explain away the feeling
of missing a feeling worth having?

maybe, maybe not, maybe it’s all a game
and the music has stopped and I found a chair
but it stands alone at the bar, no one left to play
and as I push the drink away, I admit what I want:
nothing and you, and where has it gone?


feeling the wash of time
crossing streets with failed impunity
headed north, headed west into the great sun
of every dead day
trailing history down an alley
a highway like a finger dragging across a map
and resting on motels, bookshops, cinemas where
cowards can stay hidden forever, unlike the movement
demanded in the streets, constant heat and wearing down
the bones of men colliding from dawn till dusk

from a desk, from a bathtub, from the corner market in line
there seeps into the mind a storm of days, drops pounding
the pavement and rolling into iron grates to some bitter back-mind
terminal, the wash of time like blinding light
and wild children weep
for fathers and mothers lost inside themselves
in markets wondering where there lives have gone
and is it too late to escape, to drag that finger across
the map to find a dot without a name
a fate without a life attached like strings
to a marionette

James H Duncan is the founding editor of Hobo Camp Review and a content editor with Writer’s Digest. He is the author of the poetry collections Dealing With the Devil in the Middle of the Road (Hobo Camp Press), The Darkest Bomb (in Lantern Lit. Vol. 1 by Dog On A Chain Press), and the upcoming Berlin (Maverick Duck Press). For more of his work, visit http://www.jameshduncan.com.

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