Richard Terrill

Early Poems
by Richard Terrill

The images are like old friends
I no longer have enough in common with.

“Three-sweatered like a crusted pine,”
“The fisherman scent of imagined waves,”
“He shakes his cock like a tired flag.”

I pretend I wouldn’t recognize them
on a dark street, even with a gang

of marching nationalist editors
gaining on me from behind,
red pencils sharpened to pin accuracy.

And it was always night in these young poems
–“night is evening’s secret,”
“a myth about a night world,”
“we wait for night and night-

feeding bass”–as if daylight
were owned by prose

and of little interest
mostly because
there was no bourbon in it.

And what did the young man know about love
–“too simple for listeners, too difficult for art”–
that now he wouldn’t cut back

until the part about how hard it is
was left to extend its bare branch
into the winter sky?


Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 21, Issue 4.

Richard TerrillRichard Terrill is the author five books, including Coming Late to Rachmaninoff, winner of the Minnesota Book Award for poetry, and Saturday Night in Baoding: A China Memoir, winner of the Associated Writing Programs Award for Nonfiction.  His memoir Fakebook chronicles his experiences as a jazz saxophone player.

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