Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

robert shirtliffe, and the tipton poetry journal

(this poem originally appeared in the tipton poetry journal issue #4. please support literary magazines of quality like the tipton poetry journal, linked in the column on the right.)


"Robert Shirtliffe"

Deborah Samson had the longest hair in Massachusetts
until the drums filled her ears with tears, them boys
marching all away to die, them beautiful brave boys
she closed her eyes and woke up Robert Shirtliffe

dread: but that British saber had Robert Shirtliffe on the edge
bullets singing songs for Bobby Shirtliffe of the bluest eye
three years in mud and rags got beat through skin
them threadbare particles from flesh to blood to bone

to brain, a fever in her mind where no one knew her name
little Bobby Shirtliffe spilled out from her hair
in the doctor's room where the girl opened her eyes
saw a dress on a chair, wondered who it's for --

them good boys of autumn, marching off to war;
Bobby off to rose puddles, to stream beds -- to nothing at all

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