Wednesday Nov 29

HortonRandall--creditRachelElizaGriffiths Randall Horton is the recipient of the Gwendolyn Brooks Poetry Award, the Bea Gonzalez Poetry Award and most recently a National Endowment of the Arts Fellowship in Literature. Randall is a Cave Canem Fellow, a member of the Affrilachian Poets and a member of The Symphony: The House that Etheridge Built. Randall is Assistant Professor of English at the University of New Haven. An excerpt from his memoir titled Roxbury is published by Kattywompus Press. Triquarterly/Northwestern University Press in the publisher of his latest poetry collection Pitch Dark Anarchy.


As If, Upon

exiting darkness begins the process
by which, or course, “I” dissolves

dim opaque, & a train whistling
by the last window to the right.

against plate-glass bubbled the cheek
but then oblique, as in—

pressed ever so silly dumb the night
vibrant & uptown folk trapped

in a maze of identity, boundaries
the cheek belongs to (us), or so

thinks our protagonist. no matter
totally recuses itself from living, it

begins dream as manifest destiny.
there is departure in arrival.

say our protagonist is a brittle hue
trapped in an impossible frame.

say the frame walks the streets
in search of gender everywhere.

the fallacy willing the frame.
say skin construction is dark

deepening the scene’s melanin.
let’s call our protagonist human—

lady with the worn leather journal on the #1

the curt jolt & stop of a 5-car set
into the story. inserted her[self]
is what the jolt did, to the writer

what she imagines—god at play
with denizens, pink unicorns
dying hollow inside a cave, here

the acoustic adjusts, then a lil loud
rattle & shake around the corner. stop
two enter opening doors,

another jolt she writes: dark river,
seagulls piping forever. a tanker
100 yards out holds image over-

head, tunnel lights blink—spine
bent over the journal, sideways
her pencil perpendicular. stop

each body a question she writes
class will be the death of culture,
my skull an instrument, she thinks

through a platform & over a bridge.

out of darkness

a train arrives amid space
stitched across the grain—
threaded through a tunnel
frozen faces plastering plate
glass, everybody all in—
but not conforming, but do

a slow commodified death
the poet announces: i am
homeless art on the 1 train!

uptown, an aesthetic opus
your life, my life, us, as if—
those erased, the redacted

between time do become
not one but confused as to
which lens zeroes out

possibility to find one’s self—
of the model: a rhetoric girl
into her reflection stares

at the inarticulate figure
we all caught up in, her
beauty, which alludes—

two trains pull parallel
on either side, identity
at a standstill: a pose

through corridors we emerge
before blue columns fill
with lustrous gray calm

silence, or the silent ones
go unnoticed crafting
culture out of darkness—

No Time to Get on the One


the billboard exhibits, homeless art
journals down by riverside drive
on concrete barricade

bracing the curved walkway
up to riverbank state park—
route 9A too holds the sign

south by southwest
white wakes behind the lone yacht

via the breeze on the hudson
trailing a san agustínreplica.
a ball bounces, you can’t

check me, the girl screams—
a camouflage wearing short dude
on new scooter, one race bike

red, black seat, spokes gleaming,
only the tree with dead branches
wishes it were alive, as always

earplugs hang from walkers
walking up the walkway absent
what art is witness to.

Horton Photo Credit: Rachel Eliza Griffiths