I wish there were something to pray to,
to carry my friends to safety,
towards a quick healing.
There should be a higher power,
a Seraphim Royal whose answer is
not the supreme mystery of silence.
I wish I could lift my eyes, bow my head,
summon the absolute belief that
would raze the human curse.
I can’t. I don’t.
Blown Down Blues
Knife in pocket, sleeves rolled,
I walk to the door,
my hand out to the End of Days,
the task of anticipation before me:
to the club, to the morgue,
to the merriment of Mars.
“Mercury Blues” ranging in my head,
I take a New Orleans walk,
drive the Memphis car.
Black cough roughens,
port wine and whiskey muddied on my tongue.
Like a dobro stir,
dogs of war and warning bristle as I pass.
Dodging scorpions on Industry Row,
I settle at the bar,
take a selfie with a Tanqueray and tonic,
watch the bouncer take his stance.
We hear the cops raiding, block by block,
watch the satellite feed as
they scatter justice in the late August heat.
Harmonica notes swooping in the dusk,
Colorado Jesús is busking hobo train songs,
clearing callers for the girls upstairs.
A rosary swings above the register,
another is wrapped around my wrist.
The owner dims the lights for dancing,
lights the votive candles, the purple and red.
Spotlight beams slip
like a host of ghostly hawks.
A ravening moon is hazed, chased,
slivered in a fog bank.
On my knees in the street, I’m faking praise
as the widow’s courtyard,
the temple market ignites.
Militant’s torches fall in smoking pyres,
banner chains rasping on poles.
This century is a mystery of lies,
taught with false martyr’s fables,
the killer’s profane scripture.
I’m reaching an old misery,
reading a clear ending
in furies of reprisal prophecy,
the beat of boots on cobblestones.
A Pushcart Prize nominee, R.T. Castleberry is an internationally published poet and critic. He was a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe and co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review. His work has appeared in The Alembic, Santa Fe Literary Review, Comstock Review, Roanoke Review, Pacific Review, Iodine, Foliate Oak and Silk Road. Internationally, Mr. Castleberry’s work has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. Mr. Castleberry’s work has been featured in the anthologies, Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.