An Inconvenient Destination

As church season and battle line stir the
cemetery dust of Seven Pines and Cold Harbor,
a trance of illness blurs coincidence and tradition.
You trust in seance and Revelations,
newscast and newsreel flicker
of Zapruder in Dallas, 1963.
Words cluster like cracked ice and sediment
in the bottom of a glass.
I’ve seen you tangle exposition and theory,
metaphysics and medication
as if you were two friends
who disagree at dawn and dusk.

Through the creep of day to decade,
you’ve prospered as half-matched partner,
blockade runner, Savannah bodyguard.
You married less for merit
than to calibrate your working-class rise.
Discreet, dispassionate, your wife
collates suicide texts at the Penalty Archives.
She practices a free speech politics of disdain
where salon debate savors
the chill of buzz word and bottom line.
With an empty preference
for cleverness over blood,
the spin of Heidigger and hypochondria,
you remain the perfect, happy cipher:
no closer to one
than to everyone.

Grown wary of a profiteer’s mind,
tremors of gin dissolution,
the tardiness of your concession calls
to Herod and Mephistopheles,
I won’t be missed.
The Western trails are open.
The Red River and the Rio Grande
sound a healthier promise
today and tomorrow.
Following a runaway tradition,
I have Gone To Texas
and beyond.

R.T. Castleberry, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has work in Dissident Voice, Caveat Lector, San Pedro River Review, Glassworks Magazine, Silk Road and Gyroscope Review. Internationally, he's had poetry published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Portugal, the Philippines, India and Antarctica. His poetry has appeared in the anthologies: You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, and Level Land: Poetry For and About the I35 Corridor. Read other articles by R.T..