Wednesday 5 November 2014

2 Poems by John Roth

Escaping the labyrinth 

Dangerous intersect.
The exit sign directs you
    to go left             but you stop,            pivot
your foot,                 and turn right
into a dead-end.
Back up,            retrace your steps.      These walls
are the color of old bones           and the gleaming red trail
           you leave behind             keeps spooling
     like wet thread wrapped            around your stone-cut          heels.
                   The shadows pace            alongside you,          guide you
through this upturned sky;           black wings that spread
       over the white column      of your spine.        Chew on
a cold ball of wax        and spit              feathered pulp.
    A bird                flies overhead,                 you get
     an idea:                                      Now you soar.

Perpetual locomotion

Somewhere, an ice block melts
in a hot box.  The railroad spikes
uproot themselves from the track
as a train shoots by at full speed,
coal-fed, with its metallic
vibrato and rattling smokestack.
A blue chink of sky runs parallel
between hitched freight cars.
The hard click-clack of wheels
grind, spark, then come to a reckless
halt.  The busy-body passengers
spill onto the station platform,
driven on and off like livestock.
The passing wind knocks over
an empty trashcan in frustration.
No one bothers to pick it up.    


John Roth's daily writing ritual consists of furiously jabbing at his keyboard and hoping for the best.  His poems have appeared in Red Fez, Red Booth Review, and Red River Review.  He likes the color red.  See some awesome artwork at

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