Wesley Durham is a poet from Cleveland Ohio. He holds a BA in English from Kenyon College and is working toward a Master's in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California. Several of his poems have appeared in Persimmons Magazine. He lives in Cleveland and Los Angeles.
A Drunk On The Tracks
Not one of us would want to come here alone
so far into black that you can’t feel the gray.
Though we creep only close enough to throw
a shoulder between your dizzy head and the cold
concrete platform that licks its lips on your stumbles
we must seem like the vaguest shadows of the
closet spook you spent the evening boarding up.
If I could speak your language I’d remember you back
as far into this washed out day as you would travel.
At least to daylight’s long last call
when as a girl you would sometimes flatten
onto the lazy Ferris wheel of summer grass.
In spite of warnings, thirsty for blindness
forsaking all instruction on the far edge of sky.
She disconnects her I-pod last
and as I’m kissing her I hear
the airport static of wheels
and zippers and sliding doors,
but also the static of 91.1
She’s taken her music away.
I catch her in a rear view
snapshot where she’s dwarfed
by her enormous pack. Inside
they’ll charge her fifty dollars
for the extra weight but she won’t
have it so she’ll pull and stuff
and readjust the weight of her
life on the terminal floor.
There’s a voice under the radio
static but I can’t make it out.
To my sisters, sisters, sisters
To much watchy, watchy, watchy
Dreadlocks repay a loan of convenience
at the top of a wading creek of passive passengers
where the sovereign archway to any city buzzes out dangers imagined.
She’s a no brainer, a wayward cherub sent down to fill quotas.
The wand wavers usher her in like fishermen hoisting their nets.
A held up queue stands to wonder if these plastic coated gypsies
knowing what they know of petty oppressions, might actually be less likely
to get caught holding. But the day in, day out motions of the x-ray artists
will confound this purely academic query more often than not.
Cheesecake Factory and Crate and Barrel
on the Grave of a Demolished Wood
Calvin’s mom noticed the restaurant opening upon leaving the store
a Cheesecake Factory in its first weeks, right there in her suburb.
She wanted her husband to take her and she thought that he would
but wouldn’t want to be seen publicly with their mistake and his tiger,
which meant she would have to haggle with the babysitting high school kid.
She put on her game face and braced herself for the call.
Roslyn absent mindedly flipped shut her pre-calc and answered the call
unaware and unprepared for what the speaker on the line had in store.
A woman positively desperate, fighting for an evening’s reprieve from her kid,
who enjoyed a far reaching reputation as the terror of their suburb.
She sighed and instant messaged Charlie, saying “sorry, not tonight tiger”
If she didn’t make this money the girl down the block would.
A hungry father in a patent office wondered what he would
be having for dinner, and shuffling paper he made a quick call.
Through unanswered rings bubbles in his abdomen roared like a tiger.
He hoped his wife wouldn’t make him stop at the store
for some forgotten ingredient on his way into the suburb.
In a couple of years, she can just send that dumb kid.
Watching Roselyn through the mail slot stood a dumbfounded kid,
she’s going to another house, she won’t come here, but he knew that she would.
Clandestinely, out of the open back door Calvin escaped into the suburb
humming the age-old theme to the smurfs to block out his mother’s call.
A realization stopped him dead in front of the convenience store
with a crayon in his pocket he drew up a plan to liberate his tiger.
In the light of a second floor sunbeam napped the tiger
who snapped into reflexive animation upon picking up the scent of his kid.
He crept down the stairs chuckling at the pouncing that Calvin had in store.
From under a table Calvin watched Hobbes stalk the front door as he knew he would.
Pushing air through his cupped hands he formed their secret call
which was understood to mean, “let’s meet in the treehouse overlooking the suburb.”
From that perch minutes later the two friends took vigil over their conquered suburb,
when suddenly a gaudy inconsistency stuck in the keener eye of the tiger.
Where once had resided a green canopy stuck out a structure to big to call
a house, slightly to small for a city. The sighting was confirmed in the spyglass of the kid.
“A declaration of war.” He exclaimed. “For that is our woods.
Who are they to exchange it for a restaurant and a store?”
After a delightful dinner Calvin’s parents decided to stop in the store
putting off returning to explanations of the atrocities attributable to their kid,
who had sworn that he would conquer his country, and conquer he would.