Poetry for Tuesday with James Goertel. Today: Rimbaud’s Blues

Poetry for Tuesday with James Goertel. Today: Rimbaud’s Blues

RIMBAUD’S BLUES by James Goertel for your Tuesday Poetry feature reading pleasure.

Verlaine (far left) and Rimbaud (second to left) in an 1872 painting by Henri Fantin-Latour

Verlaine (far left) and Rimbaud (second to left) in an 1872 painting by Henri Fantin-Latour


There is nothing left of this day, but night.

A rabid dog bites a trusting child,
a dying deer
turns a lifeless eye to the wind, the road.

Too close to Heaven
is too far from
the sun that kissed her shoulders.

Blood runs its continuous clock
inside a heart
winding down unrequited and unseen.

Rain falls from the moon
without reaching
the sober footsteps of fare-thee-well.

Memories become mercenaries
holding smiles captive
against their sottish, stumbling will.

Everything ends in sighs
swallowed whole
leaving pale and perfect, hollow hunger.

Hands pulled from pockets
sweep away
the sunset of men and women in love.

Matches struck to light the dusk
extinguish themselves
upon the fingerprints she left on his.

First star’s apparition overhead 
without a wish upon it
when there is no longer a ghost of a chance.

Shadows climb trees to escape
the darkness descending
through late autumn leaves that have yet to fall.

Bitter cold, crescent-sent moonlight
cannot find the words to shine
inside the mouth of a drunken, spurned poet.

No prayer for a stricken, lovesick adolescent
cowering inside a swaying man
dancing a slow waltz all alone to Rimbaud’s blues.

The rabid dog turning tail
and running off
without fear, wild and incapable of remorse.

The dying deer in headlights
turning a blind eye
to pain and tamed by an ironic twist of fate.

There is nothing left of this night, but dawn.


James Goertel. Under The Same Moon


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Born in North Dakota, James Goertel spent twenty years working in television for ABC, NBC, and ESPN, among many others in the U.S. He currently teaches writing at Penn State. Carry Each His Burden (2011) was his fiction debut. Each Year an Anthem (2012) was his poetry debut. With No Need for a Name (2012) and Self Portrait (2013) are his follow-up collections. His debut novel Let the Power Fall will be published in 2014.

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