Thursday, March 25, 2021

windber by Jason Baldinger

these beatnik girls
spill bohemian glory
on the coppertops of bars
we fire drinks back
faster than we fill then
still there are no pink elephants for me

sun splinters hotel windows
birds chitter august songs
delirium tremens in a sleeping bag
shaking on a concrete floor

three hours out
shrieks stab slumber
I stumble downstairs
to find the commotion
in an old drunk woman
who after bare floor communion
has lost the ability to keep
blood under her skin
arroyos are filling
blood from broken noses
stains linoleum, stains carpets

I am useless to these moments
a drunk is poor solace to a drunk
blood is a clumsy dance partner

I scutter back to my room
sleep to scuttle this lifetime hangover
damn the squeal of blood sermons

today, I am rattled sleepless
destined instead to stumble 
toward morning sun
a knife sticking behind my ear

I’m destined to climb 
train track mountains
survey the town of johnny weissmuller
survey the town of alan freed 
while rattling chains
for the ghost of american diners

sunday church services soothe me
I hear hymns crawl into the street
ashamed of their gift of tongues
I stand toward the back
shout a prayer for the faithful

for a shower and clean shirt
I’ll believe any lie you say
I’ll sing to any god
that will grant me 

we all seek earthly peace
there is no peace here
I return to the street
dry as a vampire

on main I scavenge
for a greasy spoon
to wrestle this hangover
to spell penance
to bless with relief

I am the merriwether lewis 
of the laurel highlands
I’ve shot bears in my sleep

today, my suicide note is blank
this town has been erased
maps keep no record this existed
a history of backroads misplaced
but there’s gotta be a diner here someplace

Jason Baldinger is a poet from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. 

 A former Writer in Residence at Osage Arts Community, he is co-founder of The Bridge Series.

 He has multiple books available including and Everyone’s Alone Tonight with James Benger (Kung Fu Treachery Press) 

the chapbook Blind Into Leaving (Analog Submission Press) as well as the forthcoming Afterlife is a Hangover (Stubborn Mule Press). His work has been published widely in print journals and online. You can listen to him read his work on Bandcamp and on lps by the bands Theremonster and The Gotobeds.

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