T. Castleberry

T. Castleberry’s work has appeared in Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, Green Mountains Review, The Alembic and Comstock Review. Internationally, it has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. I’ve had poetry in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, Kind Of A Hurricane: Without Words and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. My chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

THIS TRACE OF SERENITY

I’ve spent the hours

watching overflights of airliners,

choppers bank low, in line

with hospital spires.

Blue jay and robin dart

from oaks to feeding field.

A grey calico cat makes

his run across cracked tarmac,

tail flicking through a broken fence.

A spoiling cloud builds to the west.

The day seems a haiku

of mechanics and the wild.

AMERICAN MERCY

I sit on the edge of war, thirsty for release.

Wearing the white of mourning surrender,

I stack my rifle outside the harbor chapel,

march in queue for a meal.

The vagabond legions merit all respect

as they disappear into the city,

busk on streetlight corners,

take their turn as teacher’s aide, Kwik Copy clerk.

Co-conspirators at large, their ringtones sing:

“Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima.”

In visits overnight, I find friends

dead by protest beatings,

deaf with bleatings of family scorn.

Shattered, ill, they are ranking  

clinics, hospice care, the mercy in

morphine over prayer miracles.

I sit with their dying, wince

at my needs, my loss in their leaving.

I wish them recovered.

I wish them no more pain.

Some mornings I’m called to waking

by a wicked piper, black dog at his feet.

He disturbs, discerns nothing save

grievance blare, ways of discontent.

I haul myself through a failure

that is cursing weariness,

a beggar’s snarl at bitter news,

Red Wing boots broken through to mud.

Eyes down, I revise my wolf pack memoir,

strike off another day in this sordid country.