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Poetry by Jared Randall 

Randall is a writer and freelance editor from Michigan.  His book, Apocryphal Road Code, is due out in Spring 2010.  Visit his blog.




© 2009 Jared Randall






Searching for your driveway

            in spring…

(m- 43)

Missed the crest, the fork

in the road drowned too quickly

past your brick-lined house.


            I'm lost and know it


but don't tell me when

it happened. Let me fly

a while beyond your finger


            pointing me upraised


to my words. Let me down

hemlock before your wind

catches me upright, kneels me


            below the blessed air


you breathe. Before I breathe

through open windows

know me better than night,


            sweat-streaked and august,


our nudity trapped in closets, air

between our resting bodies,

our closing eyes unfolded


            in wicker hampers.


We’ll run this constellation

less fixed than water perplexed

to standstill crystals,


            our one shared tongue,


you and the moonlight's twirl,

we’ll walk driveway concrete

to your car in summer,


            our misplaced meeting.



            Hartwick Pines


Your walk is your own walk, and my limp

            won't likely change. Our lives

hurtle, ash-made worlds, up-Norths we imagine.

            This log remains a stump

turning the lathe—yet to pick up

            a chisel, to ride tough roads.


Our faces mirror their birthed substance,

            we unfold and call this

movement, call it change—the same flower

            closed, now irising open,

awake and soon to wink itself down

            by degrees of lost


awareness, our tunnel vision closing,

            tricked toward the last prick

of longing, from that first inrush of air,

            but you, never expel me

from campfire lungs, over-inflated—

            never, still heart wheeling,


never timber. Don't blast my stump

            from its interstate spiral,

these gyred year rings

from your river’s uncut lumber.



            Silver Lake…



(u.s. 31)

Your goose-pimple flesh rides

untidy rhythms below sands

heaped castle-high.

My raft ashore


on blighted kneecaps. I smoke words

from dune tops three thousand stair-steps

above your Lake

Michigan plan


to go nowhere, to imitate

waves in their tidal cessation

of meaning. I

watch my tan line


recede from scaly therapies

matching the wind's first altitude.

When sunlight woke

from our best dreams


we dealt our cards jokers-up, spades

trump for fifteen years, thoughtless


the silent drops


our tapping fears provoked, musty

with relieved mothballs and cardboard

yelps. For fun

we licensed coons


on their plastic baggie pick-through

before packing up sleeping bags,

a radio,

our one-man rafts


with double paddles and leaky

valve stems. Bloated, the memories

of clear-tipped waves

plunge us under


a surface not meant for sailing

toward. We tend layovers

along a route,



only. Whatever square campsite,

no backing in, no pulling out

unless over

falls, knocked against


the woodpile we carried with us.



Panhandling words

            beneath a tenement clothesline

(detroit, michigan)

            Why do we limp this road,

and what is the meaning of crumbling

                        curbsides beneath the rush of

executive privilege?


            Seems the gutters could not hold

a fuller demonstration of rubbish

                        passed on to our children by

                                                                        these responsible eyes


            peering out from white houses

dark with shades. Shutters

                        close it down, the sunlight

                                                                        you and I still blink in.


            There's this strange tugging in opposite

directions, as if we're suspended on

                        a clothesline between two

                                                                        rundown tenements


            and I cannot grasp your reaching

hand, your left foot waving circles

                        in midair jet streams after

                                                                        a New York dust cloud.


(manhattan island, new york)

            Hey, watch the billows, you call,

an eastern storm blowing a space

                        in our heads, a womb for

                                                                        new thoughts on the fly


            fished and netted to the bank

of our collective rage. Someone poured

                        straight concrete sides,

                                                                        channeled us smoothly,


            like a Northwest Passage

no explorer ever found while paddling

                        upstream against the current

                                                                        of a falling geography,


            an absence so manifest they

could only deny it and keep looking,

                        keep digging the St. Lawrence

                                                                        a further west finger


            because someone won't take

no. Because our railway crossings

                        don't stop for a generous

                                                                        warning. We stretch out,


            ride it further, throw the

clothesline and pull it tight under

                        the sun of our ambitions.

                                                                        We'll be an island,


            a fortress, an impregnable falls,

no matter who trips the clothesline, no matter

                        what clouds billow

                                                                        down limping streets.






in Reverse


We peddle these roads, but how long

can our lives revolve in tandems,

fixed, the same four wheels, my hood

 ornament, vectors of spatial


awareness, the distance and degree

of angular deviance required

to thread a cut-in maneuver

around, between that minivan,


this tractor trailer? What to call it?

I might say journey, but revolution

steals the thought and locks me

away from other words: thirst


or avoidance, an eye squint shut

after a close pedestrian call, a past

of duct tape clamping the murmur down,

Mercury repair manuals unspoken


against hours of fumbling fingers, numb

torn skin ripped-but-not-felt (as to pain)

over die cast parts, pleased beneath

a glaze of blood. The torqued grin


says let's try the same thing over

again, and again hold sure

what won't fix a water pump—

blown seal, reused gasket, brittle


prayer with extra glue from yesterday.

My mechanic arm scrapes against

an uneven surface of old patch

jobs that won't let go. Still


I drive and think words out loud

in my head: escape and grand-

theft selfhood. My dignity waits

on homeless lips, reams the wax


of untold ears, clamped orifices

of forgetting, that most willing act

of world creation around the sacred

driver's seat, the grasped wheel


and blinkered eye. I drive fast

from wrenches falling through

engine block cavities, screwdriver

knicks in cursed hoses. I drive


but steam hisses through hood cracks,

promises cloud, stalls frontal vision

down a road with no headlights. I

pull shoulder at first needle, gauge


my overheating, water, then ease

back in-lane, drive on for the sight,   

the greater spray and cough, buckle

at journey's end. Whatever signs,


however far, roads take me there.





in the Straits

(mackinac city)

Sound me again:

trace the swells,



Rankle her,

my eye-oceans



behind lace curtains,


perfumed as through

plastic gazes,

every lifting


hem to skyward.

Lick my pupil-dust.


Eye-drink images

known by touch,

lit and parsed.


Dip skinny waves,

arch me,


the perfumed

melancholy curtains

interlaced by gazes

you trace.


I swim home


through curtains,

lift them skyward

and above


to the blind,

the click-eye image.









All work is property of Jared Randall.




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