February 28, 2015


DB Cox is a blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems and short stories have been published extensively in the small press, in the US, and abroad.  His first collection of short stories called “Unaccustomed Mercy,” published by Studio Books, is available at the Amazon Kindle Store. To hear the poem set to music scroll to the end.



cold rain reclaims
worn tire tracks
of piss-yellow cabs
pointed cross town
by gypsy hacks—insomniacs
from new york—new jersey—new delhi
chasing american dreams
down midnight avenues
red, white, & blue illusions
slipping into the darkness
of rearview mirrors
lost in the shadows
of sacred skyscrapers
that sigh & bend in the wind

throwback poet
takes a break
over a warm subway grate
listening to subterranean trains
rumbling back & forth
on fixed steel rails—
dreaming 1950s dreams
of benzedrine-fueled ghosts
rust-covered voices howling about
chaos in the cosmos—
the last desolation angel
takes a drink & thinks
about a stroll to the depot
sit & raise a toast
to the 3 a.m. greyhound
leaving empty for the coast


felony face
cuts down the alley
like a cold breeze
police sirens sing
the same name as last night
darkness covers
the bloody footprints
of a young desperado
as he takes refuge
inside the gentleman’s john
defunct exxon
new address for the dispossessed
a spider-cracked mirror
hides out-of-luck eyes
hard as roman nails—
bony back to the wall
he slips to the floor
laughing at nothing at all
shaky tones falling
into a full-blown hack
bell-cracked saxophone
bouncing death-rattle tones
round & round
the obscene sanctuary
top floor of hell
that smells
like a waiting room
for the cemetery
a young life fades
& slips away
madly backward


down in motown
a street preacher
shakes a tambourine
& dances along
cracked concrete—
praying over the remains
of toppled houses
& lately vacated
assembly lines—
stone-dead illusions
that can never
be raised from the ground—
hollow invocations
ride the night
on a twisting breeze
curling round & round
down in motown

down in motown
spent ashes fall
from a neglected
cigarette jammed
between metal strings
running over the headstock
of a pawn shop guitar
like blue veins
leading to the heart
of the matter
open notes stumble
& stagger behind
bottleneck moans
sliding along
an empty dance floor—
a post-apocalyptic bluesman
with the face of a refugee
growls ominous phrases
that crack like glass—
red-hot pieces tumbling
among trumpet trills
& dissonant
piano arpeggios—
broken chords
overturned & burning
down in motown
motor city fades
& rolls away
madly backward


helicopter searchlights
at the edge of town—
tumble-down house
sits like a corrupted monument
to a dying neighborhood
front door torn away—gaping
like an open mouth
with nothing to say
murky hallways
always half-lit
by the yellow glow
of glass pipes
where only those
can decode the graffiti
spray-painted along
fractured walls—
eye-like windows
stare out at low-slung cars
crawling the boulevard
injecting sub-sonic
bass lines
into the twilight—
bad-ass backing track
for well-strapped gangs
settling old scores
over scars as cold
as tagged toes
down at the city morgue—
nightly play of d.o.a.
where no one
gets a curtain call—
revolving blue-light reflections
stir the quiet
on the street
where the lost
keep house

~DB Cox

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