Selected Poetry by Mark J. Mitchell
Photo Source: Flickr
Time dreamed her. She knew that like bones know pain.
She walks down long halls time offers—numb, blind,
touching every door.
She often hears rain
dripping like light before morning. Then time
will fall swift from
above her bed and claim
what she always owes.
Her gift comes unfree,
the price never shows.
Her slow fingers find
receipts, soft on her sheets, the winter-white plain
tracing her imperfect dreaming before
her alarm explodes
her towards daylight.
Her bed’s damp, with streaks of forgotten lore
(You would pay for what she gets). Hating night,
she passes on sleep for sins. Then she sets free
her hair, waiting,
hoping, always, for more.
An Unwritten Novel
Loose pages rest on his table,
against the corner. There’s been a war. Now peace
the radio tells him.
His last book won’t write
itself. In the smoky room he reviews
long lists of words
and is lost in school: Knees
straight, hands folded.
Teary. Alert. Contrite
for sins he can’t understand
once a week. In the dark box, on scraped knees.
The radio calls him to work. He needs
To finish. Lights on round
dials in a square
face. The news fades to music. Songs of peace,
they say. Somewhere, a small boy learns to write.
His hands soft,
but knuckles are calloused.
War was easy,
the grown man recalls. No
reflection, just fight.
Bring them to their knees
and move on.
There was no time to put words
on neat pages.
No faceless, teary boys
searching for music
on old machines. Peace
is hard. His hands can’t trace words. He draws squares
Knocks down piles of bad reviews.
Leaves them down. The radio broadcasts noise.
A.M. Music, Tuesday
A garbage truck squeals
the same note as
that new baby in
the front flat
who wakes up
Her pelican dream never quite ended.
She felt feathers, flight, sometimes a soft tap
that oversized beak brought.
though. Clouds stuck to her skin all day. They wrapped,
cool, damp as sheets
on her undefended
shape. They seemed to desire her solid form
as payment for
birds-eye views. Untended
creatures appeared just behind her turned back
as she trolled daylight. Forgotten altars
Vanished when she looked past her long shadow.
Bestiaries came to life. She falters,
the finale she can’t know.
Various false gods
need to be informed
when pelicans reopen their psalters.
Mark J. Mitchell was born in Chicago and grew up in southern California. His latest poetry collection, Roshi San Francisco, was just published by Norfolk Publishing. Starting from Tu Fu was recently published by Encircle Publications. His new collection, Mirror Games, is out now from Cherry Grove. He is very fond of baseball, Louis Aragon, Miles Davis, Kafka and Dante. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, the activist and documentarian, Joan Juster where he made his marginal living as a San Francisco tour guide. Now, like everyone else, he’s unemployed. He has published 2 novels and three chapbooks and two full length collections so far. Titles on request. A meager online presence can be found here. A primitive website now exists here. And now a Youtube Channel here.