Among The Missing

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.


Among The Missing

The bartenders over-serve,
the sound guy guesses levels.
The drummer shapes a jazz classic roll,
speaker buzz is the cello out of time.
The village mayor’s lost his sandals.
He’s puzzling at his phone, a bloody handprint,
a fifth tequila shooter on the tab.
iPad an ashtray,
he’s lost password and PIN number,
the safe word for his role play.
Moving into secrets,
we don’t identify with death,
we learn the joke that is a lie.
The teasing mind registers no remorse,
rejects the first unhappiness,
denies that fetish is a second chance.

Taps on my bootheels
strike sparks on a red brick patio.
Goatee grown shaggy,
Buffalo Trace and micro-brew seep
into hair and skin.
Licking stickiness from my fingers,
I admit, “Absolutely, this isn’t working.”
Across the grass, the black cat stalks the grey.
At the wheel of the newest Honda random,
I’m writing notes to end the world.
My corrupted Houston heart
centers on one statement:
Leave me to what ruinous song I write.

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