Poetry of D.B. Cox

the home

–for Miss Davis, my cottage mother at Connie Maxwell Children’s Home

time passes
like a breeze
grazing the tops
of un-barbered heads
disconnected kids
no longer able
to believe in humans
not knowing how
to believe in gods
we worked
we played
we stayed busy to forget
we no longer questioned
or expected
we learned that “silence”
was a response—
at night
we lay in army-surplus beds
& sang softly to ourselves
composed of resignation

on sunday mornings
we’d march to church—
the preacher
would tell us
how much jesus loved
the little children
& he’d sing this tune
that’s still engraved
in my mind

“jesus loves me
this i know
for the bible
tells me so…”

sometimes—after church
my grandfather
would drive down
in his hudson
& take me for a ride
i’d sit next to him
listen to songs
on the radio
& admire that old fedora
he always wore—
i wondered why
there were no songs
about my grandfather
i wondered
what kind of car
jesus drove

six-years old
& i knew fighting—
rage always ready
waiting like a rock
in my pocket
half-clad gladiator
caught inside
an impromptu
circle of laughter
glaring at my opponent
calculating the sum
gathered in his eyes
deaf to any sounds
that might distract
from the task at hand
reptilian brain
devising tactics
of pain—
a need to move
forward & back
at the same time
for that first fist
to arc toward the face
world reduced
to a primal point
strange lessons
more real
than golden rules
that could not hold—
while some kids
filled hollow characters
in dime-store coloring books
we painted each other
by the numbers

these days
i still dream
of running away—
into highway night
headed for home
going back
to look for any leftover sadness
in that hopeless place
empty box of bad times
decaying landscape
where echoes linger—
faint outlines
of old battles
that will remain unfinished

my mother
voices in her head
like a broken faucet
louder & louder
until she ran for the door
like the house was on fire
i cannot recall
her face anymore
no photo smiles
frozen in place
her voice gray
like something gone

my father
sleeping alone
behind closed doors
lost in drunken dreams—
an imagined world of order
where everything
was still in its place—
outlaw time
is on the run
i cannot hold him
in my brain
features forever fading
i strain my ears
to hear a ghost
whispering to himself


madly backwards

sirens sing
junkies to sleep
on the stairway
of the sunset hotel
old hopes fade
& dance away
madly backwards

rain reclaims
worn tire tracks
of piss-yellow cabs
pointed cross town
by gypsy hacks
from new york
new jersey
new delhi
chasing american dreams
down empty streets

red—white & blue illusions
into the darkness
of rearview mirrors
lost in the shadows
of sacred skyscrapers
that sigh & bend
in the wind

old myths fade
& dance away
madly backwards


12 Responses to “Poetry of D.B. Cox”

  1. As always, DB, these poems cut atom-close to the bone. Wonderful.

  2. I enjoyed the second one in particular. Very strong visualization comes from that.

  3. Tim Peeler Says:

    very appropriate to have this and Scott’s stuff back to back on here. Nice job, both of you.

  4. Fuckin’ A! Leon Russell writes poetry? Man-oh-man that’s some kick ass shit!

  5. d.b., what can i say, man? they sing like the blues soaring through this land pof hell. can’t wait until the day i can hear u sing.

  6. Scott Owens Says:

    Powerful stuff, Donnie. Good old Greenwood.

  7. Carter Monroe Says:

    Always wonderful work.

  8. A long while back, when and whereever the band played, my friends would all show up. They loved the music, and, by god, we’d have a high old time. I was young then and I thought, “this is the way it’s always gonna be.”

    So, I didn’t bother to say, “Thanks for coming by, and I’m glad you liked the music.”

    Now, I am truly sorry about that.

    So, here’s to all of you: Thanks for coming by and I’m glad you liked the music.

  9. I just read these and am so glad I did. Carter Monroe once told me you were among the best, and he was right. Poems that really got to me, db. Thanks!

  10. the home–your young life in a poem, Don. I like the part about your grandfather; I can just see him with that hat on his head. He was a very special man.
    Beautiful writing capturing those good and bad memories.

  11. Love the poetry daddy! I always enjoy reading your stuff! Love you! ❤ ❤

  12. Great stuff, Dad. the home is particularly sad.

    P.S. I’m pretty sure Jesus drove a convertible.

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