by Carl R. Martin

I like the country except sometimes at night
when the old red-brick church stands a black hulk
near softly fluttering leaves by the wood
and the Pentecostal shadow bears down on his horse
pursuing you on spurred flanks of the road
and steps over graves, praying with his ten league hooves,
never whistling and rustling like the air or the owl.

You think up something crazy and unreal
and speak it to yourself, “It’s like dueling tractors these caterpillar heads
that piss in the grave.”
But the spirit’s still knocking, still biding
its time on thought over faces, and love’s limping cocoon,
whose translucent wings stand empty by the nightstand.

Carl R. Martin has been published in numerous literary magazines including Combo, Rhizome, Monatshefte, Pembroke Magazine, New American Writing, Denver Quarterly, and The American Poetry Review. He has won grants from the North Carolina Arts Council and the Wesleyan Writers Conference and he is a MacDowell Fellow. His first book of poetry Go Your Stations, Girl was published in limited and trade editions by the world renowned fine press printer Arion Press in San Francisco, now located in the Presidio and presided over by master printer and designer Andrew Hoyem. His second book of poetry Genii Over Salzburg was published by Dalkey Archive Press which publishes the Review of Contemporary Fiction as well as a distinguished list of classic modern innovative voices. His latest book of poetry is titled Rogue Hemlocks. (Annotated biography of Carl R. Martin courtesy of Here Comes Everybody, with edits.)

Editor’s Note: Recently I was thoughtfully loaned a book of poetry by creator and former Managing Editor of As It Ought To Be, Matt Gonzalez. I was captivated by the book before I even reached the first poem. I suggest you pick up a copy of Carl R. Martin’s first book, Go Your Stations, Girl. The fascinating story of how Martin came to be a published poet is in-and-of-itself worth the read, even before you have the pleasure of his simple, elegant, and instantly classic poetry.

Want to read more by and about Carl R. Martin?
Here Comes Everybody
Cold Front Mag


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