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poetry 2: from THE GARBAGE SONNETS


The nor’easter beyond the windows of Wally’s Cafe

gains strength, obscures the boarded rowhouses, swirls

about the single streetlamp.  LeRoy unfurls

a Harvard scarf and stamps:  another Tanqueray


and tonic water!  Wipes snow from his coat and curls

around the drink.  Up front the jazzers play

a tangled bebop chart, he pushes away

from the bar to cut a step and shout, the girls


return to their chatter, laughter, arpeggios flurry

from a tenor sax, he’s jostled, stumbles- worry

in the unstable dance, the dark room, the wind outside.


He studies the floor, the patterns of frozen slurry:

I’ve just slipped over into another category.

No matter where I step, I’m gonna slide.



© philip kimball 2009

first published in COAL CITY REVIEW #20, Lawrence, Kansas, 2005.