Appalachian Come Inside by Charles Carr

Appalachian Come Inside

Morning ends
like a last bite
of apple,
fifty degrees
but who’s counting,
January and coffee
strong enough to hold
my own turns sixty-one,
I would click my heels
if not for their knees.
A tall hickory pitches
a bird at the sky,
noon is a high fly ball,
The New River is quiet
applause,
the air so clean it splashes
the city from my face
and I want to say thank you
but the sun is already
an arm of you’re welcome
around my shoulder.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: Stellar imagery imbues this poem with narrative force, until the last line sighs gently into place.

A fundamental thing applies by Charles Carr

A fundamental thing applies

I touch your cheek
where the highest
bone easily reaches
the moon of where
we lie together,
how much softer we are,
the sound, more cotton
than noise of lovers,
older in the way our bodies
fit like fragrance fades
from a flower but never
forgets where it goes;
unlike the sun who must
ask your eyes direction,
and I on the slightest curve
of your nose, simply fall
into place.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: This long sentence carries the reader through the poem’s delicate emotional journey with ease.

A shamelessly optimistic lawn mower by Charles Carr

A shamelessly optimistic lawn mower

May steps out of the shower
in a soft white shirt with holes,
the sky as far as I can see;
spring fiddles with ignition,
the trill of frogs, trees manage
only a squint of green,
birds and bees are busy
with so much on their minds
and no clue where to begin;
a dogwood blooms
like a crowd of children,
like the days when life was easy
as catching a ball or an engine
starts on the third pull of cord,
a lost care in the length of a yard,
my shadow tugs at the seam
as if to see for itself
can you ever go back
but makes it exactly no further
than a breeze like a woman
with the flower of fresh cut grass
in her hands.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: A poem with this title deserves publication. The delightful metaphors don’t hurt, either.

April by Charles Carr

April

From where I stand
the moon hangs like a sign
on the only store open
a few minutes before dawn,
stars are headlights
in the distant dark;
who knows how long
they have been on the road.
One takes a sharp turn
to the left as though a parking
space appears out of nowhere
and if somebody or something
is out there, I can only hope
your coffee is as good
as the cup I hold in my hand
and regardless
how many daylights
you might go through,
may one have occasion
to introduce a cloud so low
it wants nothing more
than to trace you
in its small rain.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: The imagery in this poem calls to mind some of WCW’s most spare poems, and this attention to detail highlights the emotional urgency of the closing lines.

Lost slipper by Charles Carr

Lost slipper

A streetlamp reflects
on the surface of the river,
like a nightlight in a hallway,
safe and soothing,
the sound of water,
a memory far earlier
than fear.
The bridge I drive over
begins with a concrete bench,
a front row seat
to the widest screen
imaginable,
a man behind
the considerable time
it has taken him
to beard into a mask
waits like a squirrel
in a rare moment
of clarity for the traffic
to pass before he crosses
the street
but never too fast
for the limp of matted fur
at the end of the leash
he holds like a rope
at the mouth of a hole
in case he falls any further
and the sun doesn’t rise
so much as choke up,
the way I still can’t speak,
the lump in my throat,
how that small dog
seemed to smile
and breathed deep.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: The juxtaposition of human objects with natural views draws the reader into this narrative, and in so doing, leads us from a quiet beginning to a resonant, emotional reminiscence.

Patina by Charles Carr

Patina

The sun finds its way
into the room
through the curtain
that never closes completely,
through the shade too small
for the window that hasn’t opened
since the poplars were removed.
A pronounced limp is evident,
a wilt of bloom,
not dust bowl cripple,
not tulips and tiptoes either;
the muted glare is just enough
to highlight a wound
that has long since healed
but itches when the cold traces
its scar like a hieroglyph
or the polished layers
of ancient braille.
It causes no more harm
than a tilted memory,
a dip in the brow toward a frown
that backs away
when the shadow of a hand
straightens the picture,
discards the spent petals
and rearranges the stems
into a thin smile
that moves both of us
a little closer
to what is left of the light.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: The title of this poem is crucial to understanding the plethora of images pointing towards the light at the end of the line.

Reminiscent odd duck blues by Charles Carr

Reminiscent odd duck blues

The sky was always cloudy
when I was fifteen
and the bell rang at noon
and I was the new kid
for a third straight year;
the cafeteria fear of alone,
how clean and quiet
the bathroom was,
its four sinks,
their separate mirrors,
my reflection in each
as though me and all my friends
washed our hands
before we stood and stared
through the fold out windows.
How strange it would have seemed
if anyone knew I was alive,
how my sandwich didn’t last
more than five minutes
which left at least twenty
to go over the words
I would never have the nerve
to say to the girl
with the hair as long and dark
as a February afternoon.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: This poem is a lovely example of how the marriage of imagery and narrative can create a complex emotional space.

Climate On Mars by Charles Carr

Climate On Mars

Black shoes in a rummage sale,
two crows on a card table,
the day is a brown jacket,
the color is grass in December,
the sky so close it drips like plaster
just before a ceiling could go at any
minute.

A paperback sits third from
the bottom in a stack of twenty, Bradbury
perhaps; a crate of long playing records
is open in the middle to Elton John.
He reads the message in the margin
on page thirty-seven, she can’t wait
to lift the stylus to the last track
on side one;

neither is likely to notice
a sudden chill, how the dog next door
barks at the drop in temperature,
how far from April a woman pulls
a chair well over fifty, the way it usually
melts before it accumulates,

how it must be the radio
though it doesn’t seem possible
without any power, how they all hum
Rocket Man like the front yard of a long,
long time.

by Charles Carr

Twitter: @selfrisinmojo

Editor’s Note: The collapse of society is suggested through the disintegration of stuff (via surprising imagery) in this poem. The end yields the answer.