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.
I sit on the edge of war, thirsty for release.
Wearing the white of mourning surrender,
I stack my rifle outside the harbor chapel,
march in queue for a meal.
The vagabond legions merit all respect
as they disappear into the city,
busk on streetlight corners,
take their turn as teacher’s aide, Kwik Copy clerk.
Co-conspirators at large, their ringtones sing:
“Give me Christ or give me Hiroshima.”
In visits overnight, I find friends
dead by protest beatings,
deaf with bleatings of family scorn.
Shattered, ill, they are ranking
clinics, hospice care, the mercy in
morphine over prayer miracles.
I sit with their dying, wince
at my needs, my loss in their leaving.
I wish them recovered.
I wish them no more pain.
Some mornings I’m called to waking
by a wicked piper, black dog at his feet.
He disturbs, discerns nothing save
grievance blare, ways of discontent.
I haul myself through a failure
that is cursing weariness,
a beggar’s snarl at bitter news,
Red Wing boots broken through to mud.
Eyes down, I revise my wolf pack memoir,
strike off another day in this sordid country.