Blatant Bibliophile Blog

…feeling the need to read

A Poem a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!

Posted by blatantbibliophiles on April 12, 2008

Today’s poet, Gary Lilley, is originally from North Carolina, where he attended the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. He is now a reident of Washington, D.C. whre is is a member of the Writers’ Corps. He has been a recipient of the Washington Commission of the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. A member of the poetry group, The Black Rooster, his work has been published in African American Review, Drum Voice Review, Greensboro Review, and WPFW Anthology. Check out Poets.org, the website of the Academy of American Poets, for more great poetry, and to sign up to receive emails of their Poem-a-Day for the month of April.

Alpha Zulu
by Gary Lilley

I know more people dead than people alive,
my insomniac answer to self-addressed prayers

is that in the small hours even God drinks alone.
My self-portrait; gray locks in the beard, red eyes

burning back in the mirror, the truths of grooves
and nicks on my face, one missing tooth.

I’m a man who’s gathered too many addresses,
too many goodbyes. There’s not much money

or time left to keep on subtracting from my life.
Except for needs I can pack everything I have

into my old black sea-bag. To all the bloods
I’ll raise a bourbon, plant my elbow on the bar

and drink to the odds that one more shot
won’t have me wearing a suit of blues.

I’m so exposed, with you all of me is at risk,
and if that’s only one side of being in love

that’s the one deep down that proves it.
Here you are sleeping with me, narcotic as night,

naked as an open hand, and the skinny of it is,
what makes you think I am afraid of this

when I once lived in a cave, moss on the cold wall,
all my bones scattered across the floor.

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