Jim Warner

Blind Melon Plays Decatur Celebration

Postage stamp public square
lined with food trucks and empty

Bud pounders.
Sandwiched between Heinkel’s

Packing Co. Hot Dog Eating
Competition and a credit union film festival,

Shannon Hoon’s ghost wanders
William Street, barefoot

with a question mark tattooed
on his forehead in lipstick. Beer tents

and six-dollar parking. Port-a-johns
collect a halo of flies, and he puzzles

over the threadbare flannel pattern
fading into wrists. If he could fog

the window of the downtown Jimmy John’s,
he would write home

                                                backwards, count
to ten and magically wake up back in the tour bus.



Cars Keep Crashing into Couches

Milk carton hope is still only 2% from Godliness—
this ashtray has become home to ribbon candy.

Grandmother reads closed captions for her opinion
while oxygen tanks wait to be replenished on the porch.

All the Werther sweetness has congealed like fat, fusing
to root beer-colored glass and some stray ashes. No more coffin

nails burned down to the filter. No additional cherry
embers write their names into the upholstery.

Children and old people just vanish when they are neglected.
This milk isn’t spilt, it’s spoiled.

Nurses adjust their support stockings, collect elastic bruises
around the calf. An effective tourniquet, applied

with pressure, will stop the bleeding. Stomach acid
sizzles like cancer on cast iron.

More radiation, please.
Fewer visits, please.

Home health care folds a wheelchair
like a flag.



These are the Days of Licorice and Quicksand

I digest news with a peptic ulcer.
Doctor’s orders as clear as Sambuca.

Wall-to-ceiling windows watch
a parking garage. Shadows cage a leather
ottoman; atop
it, a box of tissues wait for consoling hands and empty
                        There was a good inch
and a half of snow on Saturday, come
Thursday it’s barely sweatshirt

weather. Inside and inside and inside

again, a foot-long drain collects
thigh blood within a plastic hand grenade.

all ready to explode into               tiger lilies
and caramel popcorn.    Instead that life

never quite fills, (it) only collects in fist-friendly
vessels, wrapped within enough gauze for a persistent
seep to ebb
strawberry sunset bruises.



Jim Warner’s poetry has appeared in various journals including The North American Review, RHINO Poetry, and New South. His third collection, actual miles, was released in 2018 by Sundress Publications. Jim is the host of the literary podcast Citizen Lit and is a faculty member of Arcadia University’s MFA program.