Monday 5 November 2018

3 Poems by Mark J. Mitchell


                                    Everyone on the inbound bus
                                    thinks their small secrets are safe but
                                    the thin man, three seats from the back,
                                    he sees them all, he knows them all.

                                    That woman—with the gray, askew
                                    face she forgot her lipstick,
                                    but knows it is on the counter,
                                    smiles, knows his wife will find it soon.

                                    And the man in the blue suit and joke
                                    tie—he misplaced his faith—just
                                    last night. He’s sure it will come back,
                                    so he shakes his sure Chronicle.
                                    A mother looks at her short son—
                                    neat in his uniform sweater—bites
                                    back the iron taste in her mouth.
                                    Children should not know their parents.

                                    Watching, he is careful never to take
                                    notes. He won’t draw pictures. That’s
                                    against his rules. It is enough to know
                                    that no one knows the things he knows.

                   In my mouth I taste sacrilege    —Sylvia Grénier  Salome
                                 When you look
                        through ashes
                        the world seems dusty
                        and fingerprints mar
                        the spout on your white
                        teapot. Smoke kisses
                        your eyelids while
                        you watch bus after bus
                        hiss by like seconds
                        and the day seems shot,
                        veined with thin cracks
                        like that antique mirror
                        you see through
                        ash-colored bifocals.


                                    It’s simple to forget morning
                                    already absent from rear-view mirrors.

                                    Afternoons have no voice,
                                    unless baseball is played below the sun.

                                    A littered table is all that’s left
                                    this evening—names escape lightly

                                    as butterflies. Dreams are scattered
                                    like pennies from a child’s broken bank.


Mark J. Mitchell’s latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. Three of his chapbooks— Three Visitors, Lent, 1999, and Artifacts and Relics—and the novel, Knight Prisoner are available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble..  He lives with his wife the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.

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