Archive for the DB Cox Category

necessary illusions by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on October 23, 2017 by Scot

—I am tired. My heart is sick & sad. From where the sun now stands in the
sky, I will fight no more forever… Chief Joseph–Nez Perce

standing just out of range of a street lamp
i watch the shadows of tree branches
move along the empty avenue
almost every night
i come to stare at this vacant lot
the spot
where the lighthouse baptist church once stood

i open the back door to my mind
& dream-walk through the wreckage
scattered
across the floor of my memory

one drunken saturday night in 1985
my father
lonely for god
broke into the little wooden sanctuary
& doused the whole place
with gasoline
then he took a seat
in the front pew
lit a lucky strike
& burnt the son-of-a-bitch
down around his ears
the last “zippo party”

i don’t know
when my father’s heart
turned as black
as a piece of granite
from that sad “wall”
but most of his last days
were used up in a rage

when the whiskey was talking
the old man raved about
“search & destroy” patrols
wiping out entire vietnamese villages–
when there was no one left to waste
the cigarette lighters were thumbed open
& everything standing
was burnt to the ground
“zippo party”
a few more ‘dink’ hearts & minds pacified

there was a time
when i believed
my father was a hero

there was a time
when i believed
in simple right & wrong

there was a time
when i believed
in america

there was a time
when i believed
in all of the “necessary illusions”

enough to put my soul on the line
enough to go out
& confront things
i did not understand

another war
tied to another lie

bent under the weight of things
that can never be set right
i slide a shaky right hand
inside my jacket pocket
& retrieve a half-pint of i.w. harper
i raise a toast
to the lighthouse baptist church

a cold breeze sends
dead leaves skittering
along the gutter

i stare up the street
to where the white lines
are swallowed by the darkness

“vanishing point”

somewhere a lost dog howls
i step from the curb
a windblown bird
into the crazy night

 

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Burning Flags by D.B. Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on August 25, 2017 by Scot

 

Down in Jackson-town a sweat-stained street preacher dances along cracked concrete and prays over abandoned cotton mills, boarded store buildings, and one defunct movie house—stone-dead illusions that can never be raised from the ground. Holy invocations ride the evening heat waves on a feeble breeze.

Sunset drains crimson remains from gray clouds. Thunder rumbles in the distance and night comes down like a gate on a chain. As Blood Dixon moves along the downtown sidewalk, he can sense wary eyes shifting in his direction. He’s back home in Jackson, Louisiana—land of underworked citizens and overworked churches. Hopelessville, where it’s easier to find a place to rob than it is to find a job. A closed circle where fear accumulates like dust in every dark corner.

Bobby Lee “Blood” Dixon is a bad hallucination: clean-shaven head, mean black moustache drooping over the corners of his mouth, a long scar down the right side of his face that looks like a river marking on a Louisiana map. He’s wearing jeans and a short-sleeve, black T-shirt. On his prison-developed right forearm he has a tattoo—a confederate flag. The caption below the “stars and bars” reads “White Makes Right.”
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sweet songs of coming home by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on June 20, 2017 by Scot

 

january wind
cuts like a chisel
through cemetery
rows of expired
parking meters
tiny tombstone
reminders
that time never sleeps
waiting grave markers
for more young junkies
stumbling
done-in down
one-way streets
still unwilling
to swap a half-world
of unfillable space
& gratuitous suicide
for a valid world
of comfortable clichés
& pipers playing
sweet songs
of coming home—

does anyone know why
they climb inside the darkness
of their own souls
searching
day after day
for the closest point of departure
clawing
at the walls of “the box”
cursing
the empty “soul of sanity”

after learning
then forgetting
the weary language
of the american conversation
was there anything else
to be considered

one more online psych-doc
to fly a shiny reason
for staying
in this crumbling world
by this endless river

does anybody know
how long this curtain
has been falling

another morning by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on March 13, 2017 by Scot

— “another morning when he must do it again—there is always another morning”… Ernest Hemingway

 

slow movement forward
through another day
nothing left to say
that doesn’t sound
like nonsense

as the sun sets
over his shoulders
hemingway sits looking
around the empty room

old powers & old friends gone

the telephone mute

measuring the time of day
by the whiskey left in the bottle

the unrelenting depression
overwhelming

in a discarded draft of his
nobel prize acceptance speech
he wrote, “there is no lonelier man
than the writer when he is writing
if he has written well
everything in him
has gone into the writing
& he faces another morning when
he must do it again—
there is always another morning”

but this summer of 1961
he was sick & sad
& his mind had grown
tired of him
so
he put a 12 gauge shotgun
to his head
& touched off both barrels

now
“papa” can rest his arms on the ropes
ignore the bell for the next round
the clanging hammer
of the morning alarm—
now irrelevant

everything money could buy by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on January 20, 2017 by Scot

She… (we gave her most of our lives)
Is leaving… (sacrificed most of our lives)
Home… (we gave her everything money could buy)
She’s leaving home after living alone
For so many years…— Lennon/McCartney

 

mind-enhanced masses
in barroom communion
raise empty glasses
in half-assed salute
to karaoke jesus
with his new
crown-of-thorns
tattoo
singing the crucifixion
blues
over the simulated
pinfall of emulated
bowling alleys
while a reality show
rolls on a muted TV
flat-screen
modern-art masterpiece
hanging from
a faux-brick wall—
midnight falls
on the cool
me watching
you waiting
eyes closed
small hands shaking
by a silent iPhone
praying
your cyber-connection
will text back soon

 

Unaccustomed Mercy by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on December 25, 2016 by Scot

 

 

A crumbling house hugs the side of a junkyard fence. A single lamp-lit window tools a hole through the middle of a Mississippi night. An old man sits alone at a kitchen table, bent over a cheap guitar. Spent ashes fall from a neglected cigarette jammed between metal strings where they run over the headstock. Open chords stumble & stagger behind jagged bottleneck riffs—a driving blues. His left boot pounds the wooden floor like a hammer as he sings in high lonesome moans…

Thought it was a nightmare,
Lord, it’s all so true.
They told me, “Don’t go walkin’ slow,
‘Cause Devil’s on the loose.”

Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Whoa, don’t look back to see….

Outside the window, on the other side of a chain-link fence, a midnight mockingbird rests on the rusty frame of a 1964 Mustang and sings along with this resident composer of twelve-bar concertos—small truths concerning drinking, rambling, gambling, and the devil.

A Vietnam veteran, an unknown blues man, lost in waves of cheap whiskey, washed up on this island of broken things—a castaway locked in the sweet release of addiction, a prisoner standing on his own chain.

Luther Whiteside stops playing, grabs a fifth of Kentucky Deluxe from the table, and takes a swallow.

Years ago, he traveled all across Mississippi and into Louisiana playing juke joints and roadhouses. Now, he plays for tips outside the Coffeeville  Greyhound station—too stoned to peel his back from the wall, singing his own secret sorrow into the concrete—broken lines caught between cracks in the sidewalk.

Lately Luther stays at home—behind locked doors. He sits. He drinks. He plays guitar. He stares out the window—mind floating, disconnected in time and space. To keep from disappearing, he sings to himself…

Over on the mountain,
Thunder magic spoke,
“Let the people know my wisdom,
Fill the land with smoke.”

Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Better run through the jungle,
Whoa, don’t look back to see…

He is scared, afraid of the things that go on outside his door. He used to have a television set. After dinner, he’d watch the 6 o’clock news. Then the stories started to terrify him, so he heaved the TV over the fence into the junkyard. Not knowing makes him feel safer.

_____

 

Thunder rolls in the distance. Luther, guitar case in hand, moves along the shoulder of a two-lane blacktop, headed for town. He hasn’t had a drink in two days. He needs one bad.

Someone is coming up the road from behind. He turns and sees a red pickup truck. The driver seems to be slowing down. Maybe today, he’ll get lucky and catch a ride into Coffeyville—a little unaccustomed mercy.

The truck comes alongside where he’s standing. Someone rolls down the passenger-side window and fires one shot. Luther is hit. As the truck moves away, someone shouts “MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!”

The bullet passes through the left side of Luther’s chest. He drops straight down to a sitting position, then slowly lays back into the wet grass. There’s something about that word, “America,” that echoes in his brain. Something from way back in grade school. He slides the palm of his right hand over to the left side of his bloody chest. What was it? The whole class repeated it every morning. He tries to remember, but can only recall the last line… “with liberty and justice for all.”

As he stares up through the rain, he is startled by the breathtaking splendor of a multi-fingered lightning bolt. Overwhelmed by the beauty, Luther Whiteside weeps.

The thunder speaks. Luther slowly closes his eyes.

“Don’t look back to see…”       

 

_____

 

*Song “Run Through the Jungle”—lyrics by John Fogerty

 

at the edge of town by DB Cox

Posted in DB Cox with tags on December 13, 2016 by Scot

 

where the outbound ends
just across the tracks
a hobo jungle grows
partially in the shadows
of a brightly lighted sign
covered with the saintly
image of “good king trump”
seated in his lofty chair
with both thumbs
straight up
toward his kris-kringle red baseball cap
the time magazine
“man of the year”
looks down majestically
on the frames of fire-gutted cars
& moon-white bones
of lost dogs that no longer sing
of lonely things in the night–
supreme ruler over a kingdom
of homeless addicts
early releases from the institute
war-shocked veterans
teenage runaways
& drunken drifters–
a village of undone citizens
with bad luck & trouble
tied to their raggedy asses
like clanging tin cans
as they march hopelessly
in circles–
round & round
the unholy ground
totally fucking ignored
by the smiling
billboard savior
trying hard to hide
the lies behind
those paper-thin eyes