October 18, 2014


Damon Ferrell Marbut is a Southern novelist and poet. His works include the fiction title Awake in the Mad World and the poetry books, Little Human Accidents and Human Crutches. Available at Amazon.  He lives in New Orleans.

 Contact him at http://www.facebook.com/DamonFMarbut

Poems In This issue:   Mother's Day, 2014, Fragility, Reunion


Mother’s Day, 2014

She said over the telephone this morning
that there is an arrogance to academia and then she recanted,
amending her statement to mean “obsessive” after taking pause—
I knew what she was saying—I told her of a young man
who, less and less as time went on, spoke with me
about his inability to separate philosophy from love,
she told me it sounded much like I once was,
an inchoate poetry writer drinking too much wine
and lying about drugs and to some extent she was correct,
there’d been those few years where scrutiny and research
and detective work and dark night hunts unearthed little
but bored ears filled with jukebox music in bars,
there was a canyon between conversations about jazz
and on many occasions I yelled at the river
from my old French Quarter apartment that I was misplaced
at birth by time in the old century,
but I did not remind her of that, instead we sipped coffee
and interrupted one another with so much to say
even after years of exhaustive speech,
each morning like the night, each break to breathe
a chance to add insight we’d repeat again later,
and perhaps that was it, the reason for it,
the aimless talks like drunks throwing darts at the ceiling,
to do the exercise of speaking not to mean, not to gain,
but to do something finer, to stay alive that much longer.

For Michael Shugrue
The strangest thing.
A patch in the street just before my house
was covered in yellow,
outside the neighbor’s place where drugs and fights change hands.
A war is going on in politics.
I barely muster nerve to leave.
The yellow is everywhere,
really more golden than anything.
Like it fell from the broad stretch of tree limbs
and leaves, just there, just in that small space.
A mystery if I don’t question it. I don’t.
I was walking home from the store. Bought an onion.
Would have been nice to see my face open up
when I saw the road. I’d been furrowed a great deal
over poems and the news and naps and planned dinner.
Hence the onion. The stretch of my crow’s feet felt good.
A man on the sidewalk as I left the grocery mart said,
“I can tell you’re a trooper” as I walked toward this kingdom in the gravel,
a hard-fought splendor in an otherwise sad day.
I didn’t know what he was telling me.
Prescient lad? Man of hopeful wisdom?
The sun was paint strokes beneath my feet.
All the world a bright promise.
Me, a momentary flower.
I couldn’t get the key in the door until the crying stopped.

Cousin sends a message,
“Remember you met me
when we lost your father
and I gave you a beer,”
oh, I remembered his face but not the beer
or that he was my cousin,
I wasn’t yet out of high school and mom, sis and I
were broke but I wore a suit
“big enough to grow into”
mom said, and we all congregated on a mountain
to send off dad, the weather was nice,
I helped carry him through the cemetery
and scraped his box against his father’s neighboring tombstone
but nobody minded,
I almost fell in,
nobody would have minded,

some words were said and besides mom
I can’t see anyone else there looking back
but then when it came time to leave
I met my cousin for likely the first time since infancy,
he was twice my age then so I assumed him an uncle,
he reached in his truck and handed me a beer,
I remember looking at mom with “May I?” eyes,

and now after thinking of his message and after
reading elegies to lost lovers and after watching the wind
push against the backyard trees in late June
I think the only thing going on upstairs upside the mountain
was not
who was who or
why daddy why or
how do we get down from here
something along the lines of, it always feels like hurricane season.

~Damon Ferrell Marbut

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