Saturday, January 10, 2015

Rob Talbert

Monday Morning

The fishing line
of desire too often
hooks my eyes.

My god the evidence
in my car alone:
her hair strands, the empty
bottles under the seat,
the severed nightclub

I watch the lemonade sun pour
over the people walking
into the office building,
over the swarm of purses,
backpacks, satchels, shopping bags –
we are taught very young
how to carry too much,
and the bags so abundant,
so deep, that grief
needn’t ever be left behind.

My paycheck always hits
barely just in time,
like everything else
that saves me
and the raccoons still refuse
to go to the police
with what they know.

Like everyone else
I am given the choice:
where to go,
what to carry.

We are all growing
in our shirts.

Leading Up to Something like a Prayer

The traffic light turns
red and I stop beside the museum.
Vacant and deep. Closed
for hours, now. The windows
throw back a lead-filled street of cars
and concrete. I have seen this.
            Only the security guard
patrols inside. Humming
or drinking or reading
or jerking-off or whatever
it is he does after so many hours
alone with the masters.
            The light turns
green and I turn
onto a street named
after a great man. A song
on the radio carries on its back
the era it launched. I hum off-key.
I pass statues in the park.
            Everything I do
is so easily forgotten. Barely
noticed despite the constellation
of cameras recording me from above,
and hoping, perhaps, that I’ll
do something other than walk
            with my head down.
I go into Wal-Mart. I pick up wine.
I stand in line, waiting for the one night
of my life that will go filed away
with the masters, not this small and fragile
history, written by the trapped sparrow.

Bonham Exchange Nightclub

closer and closer
two bodies get
but the skin
will stop

just as the net beneath
the trapeze will
stop the

the spirit wants
more than the
body can

and will pour forth from the mouth
like an insane river
honest and

some strangers reach out
and hold other
strangers like

a strength succumbing
to the presence
of a different

there are thousands
of ways you could
live your

and they are all here in this nightclub
this room of changing
and overflowing

in the face of each person
as impossible to ignore
as a bomb

the truth is we are all swarmed
by equal measures
of disgust and

and so easily forget that the body
found cold amongst
the trees could be

Rob Talbert grew up in the sweltering heat of San Antonio. He has worked in jails, bars, corporate offices, hotels, universities, hospitals, retail stores, restaurants and on cruise ships. In 2010 he received his MFA from Virginia Tech University, and he is currently working on a Ph.D. in Creative Writing at Florida State University. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Alaska Quarterly, The American Poetry Review, Juked, Ninth Letter, Painted Bride Quarterly, Passages North, Rattle, Southern Poetry Review, and on Verse Daily.

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