Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Poetry By Jason Baldinger

Jason Baldinger is a poet hailing for the Appalachian hamlet of Pittsburgh. He’s the author of several books the most recent of which, the chaplet, Fumbles Revelations (Grackle and Crow) is available now, and the collection Fragments of a Rainy Season(Six Gallery Press) which is coming in September. Recent publications include the Low Ghost Anthology Unconditional Surrender, Uppagus, Lilliput Review, Rusty Truck, Dirtbag Review, In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Anti-Heroin Chic, Nerve Cowboy Concrete Meat Press, and Heartland! Poetry of Love, Solidarity and Resistance. You can hear Jason read some poems at jasonbaldinger.bandcamp.com.

Bluebirds at Rest Stops, Bluebirds for Waitresses

In a rest stop inside the Illinois border
walking out of the bathroom
the attendant says
Is that Woody Allen on your shirt?
it’s Charles Bukowski I say
she says who’s that
then asks me to trade her shirts
In the Calivan
Collins cracks us up
doing his best Allen impersonation
reading from Women

This morning in a diner
technically, by the sign, a shoppe
the waitress asks
Who’s that on your shirt?
it’s Charles Bukowski I say
she says who’s that
he’s a poet
Is he your favorite poet?
No, one of them
she writes his name on her order pad
she has a pretty but vacant smile
she says she’ll check him out
How does it feel to educate people? she asks
Good I said, trying to figure out
how to talk about bluebirds
far more interested in
a three egg omelet
stuffed with rare roast beef
smothered in horseradish

Quicksilver Daydreams of a Sludge Rat

a bar at nine am
reeks of last nights
bad decisions

the wave of stale cigarettes
low tide beer
stifled, hung, wilted

my stomach cartwheels
we put a little light on
floor squeaking, sticky

everything sticky
we pull out floor tiles
desiccated corpses of quarters fall

a sludge rat unearthed
cigarette butts, ash
bottle tops, change

melded by sugar
soda once dispensed, lost kingdoms
of pain pills, forgotten whiskey, ageless beer

there is new life
in the glow of work lights

there is new life
beyond suboxone dreams

there is new life
waiting on evolution or electricity

there is new life
I’m sure, deadly sure
the bar is bleeding

The Mirror

I speak unafraid, what can’t be spoken clearly I write on the back of leaves, poems read before storms, poems read in moments when I’m about to flee

I dreamed of a man, not my father, he appeared, smoked with my mother, she talked, he laughed, somehow it felt like our sadness was his muse

I’m confused, was it my mother? my wife? was the man me? I don’t remember my father, I’m sure that in the eyes of the universe we are most assuredly alone

As the man left, he stopped, stared, mouth open, slow smile, he seemed to memorize, he always forgets, when I looked in his eyes I saw a house burn down

How can anything burn in the rain? how can smoke be attached earth? for a moment I believed I was born on fire the morning my mother washed her hair, for me being accidental was drawing a breath

I realized I could go back in forth in time, my dreams are ghosts, words fail me

There’s an elemental way the wind cleans the soul in silent days I’m distant, waiting for it to blow again these moments, I’m sure, time is a bullfighter

I flip pages of a book, amused, I’ve become a balloon, I pick $63 dollars off the floor, complete a circuit, my arms electric

These days my dramamine tongue drinks milk, watches women on waterslides Pushkin tucked against their breasts, I take target practice, realize the city has been invaded

I never explode! can’t you hear my heart? I have never exploded!

Leaves evacuate trees, a hawk trapped in an empty house breaks glass to escape, bleeding makes it impossible to fly, I keep a bird in my hand, a talisman to memory, a talisman against my death

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