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 Fiction of Family
My father let me grow up angry and on the loose,
holding a jackhammer temper, a comic’s timing,
the poor boy’s rage for recognition.
Gone Johnnie Walker AWOL,
he sent me lying to draw his paycheck.
Take a book, he said, take a bus
for VA meds, weekend drinking clothes.
Staggering an East End sidewalk,
drunk over dinner, he threw down a demand:
Do dope, I’ll beat your ass.
Capricorn child, first son,
I played pool table hooky, listened
to bar stool somber stories,
watched his back, worried for
his motormouth death wish.
He followed chest pains, a toxic occupation
to the semi-private ward.
I stood gasping in the hospital garden,
kicking at the dirt, unwilling to enter.
History slays us all—
the devious, the disturbed,
the dangerous imitation.