R.T. Castleberry: “Just to Waste the Morning”

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Just to Waste the Morning

Too early for dogs barking,
for the train’s rolling whistle,
the sun is seized by night’s glassy course.
November rattles the sidewalk’s seam,
studio apartment windows above
a winter-shuttered pool.
Mealy apple, day old doughnuts for breakfast,
I’ll spend the day finding
the cheapest copy of a desired book,
a match for a print lost to breakup.

Stepping past grapefruit, dropped
and rotting on the sidewalk,
I wear a Bosque Redondo tourist tee
under a German greatcoat,
a twelve dollar haircut beneath a newsboy cap.
Unsteady on the landing,
optical illusions of cracked stone,
pebbled strip, rusty wrought iron
trip me up.
The clinic doctor’s instructions
rattle my last nerve.
Addresses and keys in hand,
like Son House striding his blues pony,
I’ll slake my sorrows in collection remains.

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About the Author: R.T. Castleberry is a widely published poet and critic. His work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Trajectory, Blue Collar Review, White Wall Review, The Alembic and Visitant. Internationally, 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, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry.

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More By R.T. Castleberry:

Down Cold Lanes

July, Roadhouse Dinner

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Image Credit: ” VIEW OF SIDEWALK SHOWING IRON TILES – Cast Iron Sidewalk, 1907 North Seventh Street, Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA” The Library of Congress

R.T. Castleberry: “Stopping to Leave”

 

 

 

Stopping to Leave

Dire drift, the afternoon lurks—
flood forecast, prayers rising
from upraised hands, open text.
Rain passes over,
seedlings, oak and elm stirred
by South Coast wind.
Cell phone walkers stretch a crosswalk light.
Food trucks pack for dinner destination.
Pocket park slowly closes—
cigarettes smoked, office lunches done.
Coming off the bridge,
an Audi slips left lane to right,
driver dreaming at the wheel.
Yellow vest workmen scuff
to Ram and Silverado,
helmets and coolers thumping at hips.
Parking lots empty to open arid space,
to painted white lines and chain link.
Captured bags flutter like half-mast flags.
Metal doors and lights lowered,
we are locking down to leave.

 

 

About the Author: R.T. Castleberry is a widely published poet and critic. His work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Trajectory, Blue Collar Review, White Wall Review, The Alembic and Visitant. Internationally, 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, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry.

 

More By R.T. Castleberry:

Down Cold Lanes

July, Roadhouse Dinner

 

Image Credit: “Detail of east side of overpass, showing spandrel beam, piers, roadway and guardrails. View to southwest. – 86th Street Overpass, Spanning Interstate 35 & 80 at Northwest Eighty-sixth Street, Urbandale, Polk County, IA ” The Library of Congress

R.T. Castleberry: “July, Roadhouse Dinner”

 

 

JULY, ROADHOUSE DINNER

No leg level, no 2 chairs bent alike,
café tables bear an Aztec mosaic top.
Blue neon of a “Family Service” sign 
blocks the windows view.
After early over-service,
office clerks stumble to SUV and sedan.
High chatter of children at their coloring
clip a drinking mother’s flirtation.
Plastic menu pages flap to flutter open.
Date night dinner decisions split
between barbecue and buffalo wings,
Jamaican beer, California merlot.
I top Bacardi dark with Mexican soda,
offer an excuse no one wants,
no one expects to hear.
A rockabilly band rumbles
at a Junior Parker melody,
chords fat as a freight train.
Phone cameras flash, texting screens 
vivid as a predator’s smile.
A table of wits withers the air.

The band breaks.
I take a bottle from the car,
leave my watch in its bag,
find a bench on the smoker’s patio. 
The skin of the sky is a wind of ocher sand,
the fracture of stars beyond, behind
the desert’s slivered moon.
There are county-wide flames to the west.
With a shift in direction,
fire breaks at the highway line won’t hold.
Ocatillo rattle against wrought iron posts.
Through the talk, no one is listening.

 

About the Author: R.T. Castleberry is a widely published poet and critic. His work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Trajectory, Blue Collar Review, White Wall Review, The Alembic and Visitant. Internationally, 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, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry.

 

More By R.T. Castleberry:

Down Cold Lanes

 

Image Credit: John Margolies “Mr. Peanut sign, (Half Dollar Bar sign), Route 1, Peabody, Massachusetts” Courtesy of the John Margolies Roadside America photograph archive (1972-2008), Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

 

R.T. Castleberry: “Down Cold Lanes”

 

 

DOWN COLD LANES

Ending a blue-sky day–
serrated winter clouds edging into dusk,
the car’s engine responds, slips shaded curves, 
raked leaves trailing into gutters, 
veiling macadam and asphalt tar.
I follow lanes of eroding light,
high, flowing bayou stream 
glimmering to the west.
Five white SUVs break traffic laws,
speed and refuse to yield.
King’s guitar on CD stings the people’s chord,
vibrato loud from open windows.
Aromas from family dinners, scents of
burning pine or oak silt the air.
I remember laughter, her hands 
sorting music for the road, 
remember warming each other 
walking from the car.
At end of chilly days, smoky cat
never answers greetings.
Longing and memory never cease.

 

About the Author: R.T. Castleberry is a widely published poet and critic. His work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Trajectory, Blue Collar Review, White Wall Review, The Alembic and Visitant. Internationally, 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, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen and You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry.

 

Image Credit: John McWilliams “VIEW EAST ON THE SOUTHEAST/SOUTHWEST FREEWAY (IN THE HISTORIC F STREET CORRIDOR) FROM THE TENTH STREET PROMENADE, SW – L’Enfant-McMillan Plan of Washington, DC, Washington, District of Columbia, DC” Library of Congress