Divergent paths: The poetry of Austin Bragdon

By Austin Bragdon


Nightingale Walker

Detach the threads
that hold together
divergent paths

one ahead
one behind.

Rub the remains
together and notice
the nightingale song
they produce.

Collect your
tired bones

commit them
to a direction.

Your past
will die
in the moments
you live.



New Word for Beauty                                                                        

Your apocalipstick stains can still be seen
on the annals of our twisted history –
an index that points to that most poignant
microcosm of passion.

I wash them off again and again,
only to see them reappear in alternating shades
of red and black, a testament to the twin
vividity and dispassion which have surrounded
our involvement.

With the delicate subtlety
of a high-heeled boot to the chest,
or a gloved hand that takes the breath away,
they linger, call, and sing siren songs
that beg my lips to meet them.

With all the sensual allure
of a cannonball
they crack the fragile limits
of my somatic restraint.

We have formed a
violent arabesque, you and I,
from which there can be no escape.
Our lines, inexorably intertwined
have committed themselves
to this loveless spirograph of
familiarity which threatens
to collapse with the gentle
caress of a single intimate breath.

Embracing the Sisyphean nature
of our entanglement,
I wash away the lipstick stains once more.

Austin Bragdon was born and raised in northern Maine, of French-Irish descent, and has spent time pretending he was various things, including logger, forest ecologist, punk rock musician, political activist, and most recently, poet. He is currently undergoing the continuing series of imposter syndrome attacks one usually calls “working towards an English degree” at the University of Maine. He hopes to continue onto graduate school in literature and share his great loves – James Joyce, Robert Creeley, Rob Halpern, and George Saunders – with the world.

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