They’re playing old songs. It’s late.
The DJ’s cruising. You’d hate
the softness but it feels right.
Slow rain drips. I kill the lights,
stretch out on the floor, savor
a Clapton solo. You never
liked this record. You asked
an artist to take off the mask,
to play naked and just for you.
It’s over now and something new
comes on—corporate rock.
I stand up and go to lock
the sliding door, seal my home.
I know you wouldn’t like this poem.
"One California Bus"
He leans into his phone
like he’s confessing.
His lips move but
no one hears him.
Tapping his left foot
against the wheel well
you know he wants
to vacate this
lesser vehicle and
set free his own
puff of white smoke.
Mark J. Mitchell was born under the sign of Nun of the Above in the Year of the Bewildered. His checkered past has only allowed him to move diagonally along white squares. This has caused a permanent crick in his neck. The filmmaker and documentarian Joan Juster has had his back through all those years and promises to return it one day. Many of his poems contain secret messages and can be found in the anthologies Line Drives (SIU Press) and Good Poems, American Places (Penguin/Viking). The key to the code can be had for a nominal fee. His novel, The Magic War (Loose Leaves Books) will soon reveal the meaning of his chapbooks Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press), Artifacts and Relics (Folded Word Press) and Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press) without even being asked.