nthposition online magazine

The Westerner, Ghosts on the walls & Triplets

by Steven Waling

[ poetry - september 05 ]

The Westerner

Of course hes not set foot there
but carries his map of the Old West
inscribed on the back of his heart.
He knows each mesa in California,
each chimney in Monument Valley.

His parents, he says, conceived him
in a motel bedroom in Vegas
where there were Indians in the bars
like the ones printed on the walls
of the Saddles Amusement Arcade

on Central Pier. I put all my feelings
about my friends death from cancer
in that chapter with the massacre
where he rides all night with a hole
in his side the size of Kansas

but still can't save his bride. Poetry
or the nearest I'll get. He blames
the state of the world on the lack
of a new album from Steely Dan
and plays me The Best of the Eagles.

 

Ghosts on the walls

Sometimes I would like to be in the rain.
I gorged on your sculpture all week;
where's the House of the Black Madonna?

Anton Slovécek, painter of Prague,
couldn't hold a brush after the stroke,
took a gun to his head. No rain all week

but Two Men Pissing, your best work,
round the corner from Charles Bridge.
I've a hollow feeling from not speaking.

Look: all these quaint yellow buildings,
(here is someone who only wants)
a feast of art on the island of Kampa.

 

Triplets

Wouldn't it be fine to live
riding back to my roots
left at the traffic lights

The sixties I missed them
out of Liverpool with accents
at this time of the evening

When he steps into the room
it's the kind of day
the music begins

In a voice cracked as
cars on the highway
in the grainy black

We walk its surface
the beat of a dream
of origins going under

If the wind were a colour
like torn-up manuscripts
wear something light