by James Richard Brown
My narrative form is exhausted. It goes
In and out, like a radio station heard
In a car curving through West Virginia
Mountains, all we need of confusion,
We at the wheel, tired of driving in rain
And arguing for an hour about
What? Hard to even say now. A
Sullen silence like dusk settles.
I think of the white space in
A poem that has lost its way.
I think of that last whiskey in
Greenville years ago.
I think of the way a child’s
Story lifts and curls,
Voice slipping towards authority
Of narrative-voice, voice up
And down along the shaping line
We have learned to call plot.
Once you swung your head
Into the car window to stop
One of our great car fights
With a splay of blood.
I think through the holiness of blood,
The iron of salt, of prayer,
Its offering, its smoke rising,
Its chanting, its cell parts
Split and returned to whole,
The rush of matter spun.
The rain is of two minds just prior
To dusk light, the magic hour.
And the magic is in combination,
The way a trick is one thing
Of many parts made, the coins
Like chapters sliding in fingers,
The dove in a hat, the cards
That match what we thought,
That add up to something,
That read one way tell our fate.
James Richard Brown’s poetry has been published in The Blue
Collar Review, Literary Mama, and Aurora. He lives and works
in Savannah, Georgia.
“Song” is not really a song. It’s for Jane because she knows,
and she was there. It combines a number of sources: a troubling
memory from a real argument that went too far; a much older
memory of my first long-distance driving and the radio station
fading as I dropped through the valleys; my daughter at age
three telling the story of Goldilocks to Jane and me, and how she
mimicked our styles of telling, our intonations and inflections. A
long marriage requires not a few miracles. A life is a stitching
together of moments, an act, like art, that requires both magic
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Apple Valley Review:
A Journal of Contemporary
Volume 4, Number 1
Copyright © 2009
by Leah Browning, Editor.
All future rights to material
published in the Apple
Valley Review are retained
by the individual authors