Riding out the Night Listening to Comedians

Back then, college was more like theater,
the professors were actors: some temperamental,
some aspiring, some adroit and calm, some boring,
some psychopathic…not sandpapered, dull
whip-children of doctrine but minds that blazed.

End of Christendom. Stay away from diseased animals.
A fire up ahead. Strangers, strange languages, songs,
but they have food. Perhaps we can travel with them.
Beware the guards. I dreamed of a beautiful sea,
wind and waves sculpting the shore to curve,
life glittering in pools. Be moving by daylight.

River always. Getting east of here is a Euclidean issue,
theoretically possible, but in reality…like any big city,
plenty of entry and exit points. A cloverleaf up ahead.
Keep your wits about you. I think that’s what he said.
Or maybe, I’m recording this in the ledger of forever,
you’re in a fragment of thought floating in the ether.

How could you love life any more than when
you’re crossing the bridge over Agate Pass?
The name itself wants to heal your soul.
Looks like the Suquamish built a casino.
You won’t find the cemetery on any map.

The sound whip waves shoulder-crashing the shore.
Gulls nosedive an eagle coming out of nowhere.
Tough brown rock grass twitches like phantom nerves.
Ragged flag over the terminal. Gray coming alive.
Security searching with their dogs.
I’m driving around to see what family I have left.

 

 

 

 

Douglas Cole has published six poetry collections and the novel, The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. He is a regular contributor to Mythaxis and writes a monthly piece called “Trading Fours” for Jerry Jazz Musician. He was recently named the editor for “American Poetry” in Read Carpet, an international, multilingual journal from Columbia. In addition to the American Fiction Award, he was awarded the Leslie Hunt Memorial prize in poetry, the Editors’ Choice Award for fiction by RiverSedge, and has been nominated three times for a Pushcart and Best of the Net.