R.T. Castleberry’s writing has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, The Alembic, Pacific Review, RiverSedge and Deep Water Literary Journal, among other journals. He is a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. His work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.
The Story (Each Day)
There is always a story at the end of a rocket.—Marie Colvin
Take an Elvis smile,
take a stare—long, impudent,
nothing offered but impulse and wiseass wit.
I carry every word of
Garryowen and Staggerlee in my memory,
mass them tenderly in a Beale Street bar,
match them like highway miles beneath a Cadillac’s tires.
Like a prisoner consenting to his chains,
I take my terror straight Delta—
black cat bone and a Memphis curse.
I ignore the soldier’s toll on TV,
wounded, worn-out, KIA;
ignore the sense of a gunman stalking
with a Starlight scope and a minister’s consent.
Dawn a deathbed drone, a weary wearing moan,
I listen for the helicopters chop.
Flight plan low,
they dust rooftop, phone line, intersection.
I stand in the wind, waiting for walls to fail.
Stucco and stone are stained with fire.
Caught with a camera and the pictogram machine,
I count my coins in that blizzard.
The dead make their claim, elusive, insistent.
I share my debts with a victor’s moon.
[image: Mr Stagger Lee by paczkowski]