The hours are large bills spilling from a fat wallet. No work today and
the lady’s away. Idleness winks at Silence. You guys on a porch
somewhere, playing dominoes or cards. Idleness puts an arm over
your shoulder like, Whatchall tryna’ do? Even a tree seems to shrug
at the wobbly question formed by the cardinals perched in its branches.
Time burns a hole in your pockets. Possibility rolls up
in a late model ride. Top down, stereo blasting. Sun smiles in the metal
and slides its light, the way a young man runs his hand along the curves,
admiring the candy paint. Yo, he yells. You three shrug when asked, What’s good!
When people love, they bathe with sweet-smelling soap, splash their bodies / with perfume or cologne, / Shave, and comb their hair, and put on gleaming silken garments, /…After loving they’re relaxed and happy and friends with all the world. —Dudley Randall, “A Poet Is Not a Jukebox”
When you wake me at 4 a.m., the late poet laughs somewhere. The morning warps like a smile
and I’m blessed for the day’s near misses: the ticket an officer won’t write, a dog that won’t attempt
to bite. Both too busy trying to place the name for what circles my head the way canaries and
blue jays circle the crowns of trees blown toward one another when the wind mistakes itself
for match-maker. Those mornings, when you wake me, earth and her pals dot a music staff around the sun,
and dawn is the light emitted from what young stars attempt to sing.
after Tony Medina
Lying in his hospital bed, my uncle is something condemned and roped off. His mouth sags like a warped porch. His eyebrows are shutters long overdue for repairs. His unshaved stubble-- mildew collecting on façade. Cancer squats in the basement of him. Chemo runs up the stairs inside. Something yellow loosens the plywood from his eyes to peek out the windows.
-- Alan King is a poet and journalist, living in the DC metropolitan area. His poems have appeared in Indiana Review, MiPoesias and RATTLE, among others. He’s also the senior program director for DC Creative Writing Workshop, a Cave Canem fellow, VONA Alum, and MFA candidate at the University of Southern Maine’s Stonecoast program. He’s been nominated for both a Best of the Net selection and Pushcart Prize. His first collection of poems, Drift, will be published in 2012 by Willow Books. Find out more about King on his blog at http://alanwking.wordpress.com.