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Poetry by Duane Locke 

Duane is a Doctor of Philosophy and English Renaissance literature, and a former Poet In Residence at Tampa University.  He is also the author of 14 books, a painter, and photographer.  He lives in Florida.




© 2004  Duane Locke






There is a charm in the fidgets of inscriptions,
The graffiti of nonsense, dadaist sagacious statements,
Scribbled on whitewashed walls, when seen
By old eyes that blur and turn the alphabet into a dance.
It is like being exiled from the illusions of common sense,
Living in the truth of the imaginative life.
It is similar to seeing a man standing before you,
And not seeing this man as your father.
The moisture, perhaps a tear, perhaps just a liquid smear
That appears insignificantly  under an eyelash
due to the skin's liquescence,
As the stare watches the figures, once letters,
Scribbled by a wag on a wall move as if a chorus line.









The old poet inside the tower of stone
Hears the roar of surf, roundels of sea gulls,
Looks at how the dampness has darkened
The swirls of cement between the stones.
Each stone now has a different face
Than when the stone was young;
Some breads green, some breads gold.
Rereads his words he wrote when young,
He thought at that time, the words clairvoyant,
But now these words are an empty rhetoric.









The poets unlocked the five locks on his door,
Entered his almost bare apartment.


He had nailed shut all the windows.
He checked the nails, no tampering.


He smelled a familiar perfume in the room;
It was the special, unique perfume she used.


It was the perfume of the woman
With dark hair and blue eyes.


He heard weeping in the bedroom.
He make up the bed when he left.


The white blanket had been tossed
Onto the white floor.


The white sheets were rumpled.
There a head shape pressed into his white pillow.


The weeping was louder when he was in bedroom.
It was not her weeping, it was his weeping.


He touched his dry eyes, he was not crying,
But yet his weeping grew louder and louder.





Duane's own biographical words:

His old biographical notes, published many times, are now obsolete. The notes stated that he lived in an old decaying house in the sunny Tampa slums. 
The house was condemned by the city of Tampa inspectors, and after his living at this location for fifty years, he was force to leave within six days.


The forced move was due to the fall of the bungalow in his large back yard.
The bungalow contained a priceless literary scholarly library which is now under debris. An army of inspectors descended and decided he could no longer live in his home, so Duane Locke became one of the homeless.


The fall also crushed his car, so Duane Locke is car-less.


The saddest accompaniment was that his seven cats had to be sent to the humane society and his dog, Pookie, put to sleep. Duane Locke is now cat-less and dog-less.


As a transient, he is temporarily living, bereft of all his possessions, as an exile by Lake Morton in Lakeland, Florida.  







All poems are copyrighted property of Duane Locke.



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