Poems by Randolph
Letter From Jump School
The letter arrived,
on the back of a government mule,
from a place in California that teaches
if boys are to land on their feet they must follow
instructions. Red-Stamped, “Your son
didn’t.” “You should be proud.” He died,
a soldiers death.
But I know you screamed
Geronimo! When you jumped
from my womb to new horizons.
One Night Runaway
During low tide her legs crossed
the marsh, salting knees,
moving hermits with steps,
to the point, where smelling of brine,
Maggie, lay back, nasty,
as a spoiled skate. Rolling
her shirt into a pillow, smoked
J’s; until her mind left fingers.
to rape hardness from bones,
dreamed she was salt, and her mother
had the body of an egret.
When the moon called
the marsh tide home,
she licked her breasts,
and laughed at her mother’s
After the parade
we would undo the top button
of our collared shirts,
and ask them if they would,
and they would
a couple of them, pocket
their smokes, and take us
..the ones that make you scream
when the big wheel’s near the top,
about to apex, they turn away,
leave you, to hold nothing,
but wait on the ride down.
When all you want to do is get off
they finger their own hair,
tilt whimsy heads, and whirl fickle little boobs
into you so tight you feel the loose change
leave your jeans. They tease you,
those Carney girls,
all the way down the midway, with tongues
that lick sugar off the elephant’s ear.
Late Night Troll
She had been a mermaid,
in another life
trapped in fishnet black,
trolls the wharfs,
for fresh leather,
wet tatts, anything
a slow moan gulping gin,
dances with new gills
for her gutting tongue.
On the fall of Kid Mercury
he asked me to look away,
if he stayed on the canvas,
where blood and spit lay, next
to the souls of has-been
pugilists, but I wanted, instead, to watch
him, golden, the color of new morning sun,
when he was young enough to look in its eye
without reason. I was five when he was Kid Mercury
possessed with the fluid movements of right-
crosses, left hooks, and jackhammer jabs he kept
in his opponent’s face for fifteen rounds. He could still
for four, but age causes eyes to crave shade, and arms
and legs to search for remembered quickness,
where there is only spirit. And glory
is something a man wants carved on his stone,
next to name, and dates that prove
once he wore the color
of new morning.
Biographical sketch: 46 year old southern male. Have been writing
for four years.
The Best American Poetry Series by David Lehman
Reason: A truely memorable anthology. Showcases the "best
of the best" American poems during the previous year.
Recommendations for writers:
freedom of expression, letting yourself go forward with your gut,
and then REVISE, REVISE, REVISE.