Mark J. Mitchell - "Late Night" and "One Calfornia Bus"

"Late Night"


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 PoemsAmerican 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.