The Shine Journal

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Dressing For Her

by

Paul Skyrm

I'll find my best two-dollar shirt
the one with buttons off a trenchcoat
hung from a collier's bathtub's clawfoot
in the thrift store
that first looked like a bad spackling job.

I'll snap-beat the dust out' my best nickel jeans,
the one whose zipper
isn't fishing wire & jumper cables:
whose cuffs aren't electrical tape.

I'll find the best undershirt
not held together with machine paint
& tears
from a yellowed-handkerchief
stuck to an envelope scented, rose-hips,
in a travelling trunk
for eight bucks at a rummage sale.

The work-boots are my grandfathers;
the morning of April's afternoon he died
he took past their kitchen
putting my grandmother back together from splinters,
from ditches gouge-swept across an eye burned with creosote,
witnessing her humped reliquary at the maple slab -
she trellised by a spire of cigarette smoke
& he knew he had done nothing for her
but make her want for Revere Beach
& petticoats that would bust should the shoulder-stitching
get as far as the wrist-stump
stronger then a want for her children's prosperity;

The Church Mouse
had Delbert Knoll's
battered brown railroad boots
from his widow & a tag from the laces said "$11."
Grandpa bought 'em for 12
& dumped his Barlow plain toes
in a wrought-iron trash can
whose lattice-slats his fingers laced around
when the ambulance found him
balanced on parietal in the street -
his waist slipping off the curb,
Knoll's shoes submerged in in the gutter's stagnant rain water
not yet dried into the vanes of a sparrow's lost feather.

I want you to hear me right now:

may we be silent with each other in bare feet
& tangled breath

O! I'll stitch up every hole & tear I have with sinew & brine
before I mute my loping to you
in the crashing vespers of a dead man's leather stride.

 

PAUL SKYRM shares...

 

PAUL SKYRM says he grew up in a town erected for railroad and factory men who got tired of waking up to smokestacks and stars greased with creosote. "My treehouse was a water-treatment plant and the cuyahoga river threaded it's way through oak trees six turns from my house. I named bushes, ants, butterflies and birds from hearing them speak their names; I learned cloud-shape by watching the sheep turn to ostriches to blood-splatter to blue sky.

My father built gabbeons and retaining walls  to fortify that which would erode; he fills the leaks in himself with wire-cages weighed down with a load of gravel & mortar. He moves slow, but his thoughts are with you. My mother cared for forgotten things, made music with claw-hammers and screw-drivers, saw her parents kept covered and didn't care the lights turned on when they left."

MOTIVATION
Frost was asked "what is poetry?" and he said "it's the thing poets do." So I ask myself "what is a poet?" and it answered "it's the thing poetry does." Carry that with you.

Reach PAUL SKYRM here: mantuanwolf@aol.com or here: www.myspace.com/tonightthedeadprayforus

Click the pics to meet the members!

 

Editor: Pamela Tyree Griffin

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