Hastings: A Remembrance
Ashley Judd graces the cover
of another thriller.
A two-hour testament
to the lengths men will go to for attention.
Two-day rental, just a few dollars.
It’s the act of course,
of perusing, compromise,
and finally the selection.
And the beauty in that green stamp
at the base of the books’ spines:
Gently, but a real past,
a whole life of shelves and suitcases,
the pocket on the back of an airliner seat.
But I am not a jealous lover.
I will caress the creases
as if I made them myself.
A whole section devoted to dice,
twenty-sided windows into the future,
an eternity of game nights
and the compendium of canonical monsters
to guide us.
Plastic-wrapped, Fifth Edition,
the best chapter of our lives.
And this was Friday evenings,
or the awkward hour between dinner’s end
and the movie’s beginning. The after-work walks
when you just can’t bear to go home yet.
The holy payday pilgrimages
of new books and novelty drinking horns,
of Pacific Rim posters for Christmas
and the perfect Frodo action figure
to live forever at your desk,
watching you write,
watching you live and record
your most predictable adventures.
And now, Fridays have worn to antsy dust,
and a faded sign hangs from an empty husk
over a wasted parking lot.
Except for every October
and its pop-up Halloween store.
About the Author: Timothy Tarkelly’s work has appeared in From the Depths, Philosophical Idiot, Back Patio Press, Rusty Truck, Cauldron Anthology, and other magazines, online journals, etc. He has had two books of poetry published by Spartan Press: Luckhound (2020) and Gently in Manner, Strongly in Deed: Poems on Eisenhower (2019). He also runs Roaring Junior Press, a chapbook publisher that specializes in small runs of sci-fi/fantasy, horror, and pop-culture infused poetry. When he’s not writing and publishing, he teaches in Southeast Kansas.
Image Credit: A digital rendering of a public domain photo by Chase Dimock