"fault lines," "curbside lullaby," and "the bar noir"

fault lines

most nights he slept
in the silent space
between freights
that passed overhead
like a moving storm
rocking concrete pillars
planted along
hidden fault lines
under the eight-mile bridge
where gods spoke
through broken wine bottles
& drunken-tongued
coughed up old tales
that colored the air
haunted faces
tallying old mistakes
under the eight-mile bridge
his mind was gone
when they carried him
back to the county home
where he lies under nights
too quiet
staring up
restless & confused
wondering what happened
to the thunder
under the eight-mile bridge



curbside lullaby

sharp stars against
black-washed sky
a rotting ragdoll
lies limp
in concrete sleep
backbone bent
by cement
hugging a metal
subway vent
like a warm
dream-sent lover—
frail shadow
that pales
each day fading
from rage
to resignation
to nothing
a figment
of the imagination
that lingers
at the edge
of alley battle-ways
behind billboards
with painted smiles
in the midst
of natives
nobody prays for



the bar noir

there’s a decaying piano
in the “bar noir”
that nobody plays
whenever I feel
like I’m starting
to disappear
into the chorus
of shit-faced patrons
whispering conspiracy
claims into their beer
I stroll over
to the keyboard
& bend my ear
toward the piano strings
then I hammer
a low blue-note
& jam the pedal
to the dusty
dance floor
I close my eyes
& listen
as that solitary
rings out its
monotone song
to fit this
monochrome scene
of needful people
trying to make
out of the emptiness
that fills this space
of half-remembered



DB Cox

DB Cox is a Marine Corps veteran and blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems have been published extensively in the small press, in the US and abroad. He has published five books of poetry: Passing For Blue, Lowdown, Ordinary Sorrows, Night Watch, and Empty Frames. DB recommends the Best Friends Animal Society.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Monday, May 17, 2021 - 22:42