Blind Melon Plays Decatur Celebration
Postage stamp public square
lined with food trucks and empty
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
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
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.