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safe haven in antioch

by Gabriel Ricard

I would have braved the rained-out,
washed-out, washed-up streets,
to find four or five remarkable things
gathered in one dimly-lit venue.

But I stayed in,
ain’t I just too cool for this motel balcony,
and I watched ten black girls leaving two rooms.

Dressed for Instagram success,
they were making and breaking a dozen terrible, fantastic plans,
as they piled into cars with record-breaking figures
in the gas tanks.

I used to think that only cowards
let things like broken bones, no money,
and no ride stop them from making an impression
in the war of activity.

I used to imagine I would always want
to tell the story of the old man,
that needs a dedicated mother-daughter team
to help him up two lousy flights of stairs.

Nashville stood at that moment
as the groaning heart of a world completely devoid
of someone to blame for the way I stand out there,
finish a beer that’s reasonably expensive,
wave to the desk clerk, as he finishes his cigarette
down below.

Big guy.
Cold sweat fever
every time the phone rings.

Told me he hopes he gets fired soon.

There were almost certainly better things
to appreciate that night, when I was amazed his heart
got him back inside alive.

If the hand of God was after me that evening,
I didn’t feel it on the back of my neck,
as I went back inside
to fuck around with the free Wifi some more.

08/15/2013

Posted on 08/16/2013
Copyright © 2021 Gabriel Ricard

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Kristina Woodhill on 08/16/13 at 02:46 PM

"ain’t I just too cool for this motel balcony," now there's a great line.

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