The Geography of Decline

Midday, mid-September,
Sundays come down to
patterns of salvation radio or Pay-Per-View.
A lowland Atlantic storm hurries
the scent of jasmine and river willow,
carries the jumpy sound of rainfall and rolling water.
My clothes and crutches are tumbled on the floor.
A Shelton blanket pulls at stitches,
black against raw red.
I snap from Vicodin dreams every 3 hours,
ink their code in a moleskin grifter’s log.
I don’t own my history.
Memory, illness, accident
belong to Yahweh or Seagram’s 7.

This time, these days
I fear the January trait
that finds me soured and savage.
At each step, each limping half-step
I’m seized by failure.
Empty, evening avenues are mounded with mud,
debris of water bottles, toys, single shoes.
Falling leaves are dry darts in the heavy winds.
In a season exhausted by rain,
there is no pause.





castleberryR.T. Castleberry’s poetry has appeared in various journals, including Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Comstock Review, and Green Mountains Review. His work has also been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, and New Zealand. Work has been featured in the anthologies, Travois – An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.