A Parallel Uni-Verse
I'm through.
I mean it this time.
No more pictures taken with
the word-camera, no more rough
sculptures chiseled with
observation, no more melodies played
on the junkyard xylophone of
old emotions.
No more poems about children with
elderly eyes and bird-laughs, so
fragile and indestructible, so
filled with the promise of evolution
and doomed with 10,000 years of
bad decisions in their DNA, like
that little one there in the
blue coat, clutching the
dirty stuffed dinosaur.
No more poems about young
lovers, like amateur boxers lacking the
blind hunger to win or the experience to
lose gracefully.
I'm done.
I retire.
I'm through coupling those long
freight trains of words, or searching
for the right way to describe something that
defies any description crafted from the
papier-mâché of language. A sunset is not
smeared lipstick, not a crimson parfait or
bloody bunting swagged across the empty
stage of the sky -- it is a sunset, and the art is
in seeing it.
No more rhymes, no more forms, no more
show tunes or dollhouse architecture. No
more uniforms or personas, no more
I don't have to lament my expensive
education, liquefy my assets, sell off
my equipment -- I'm sure I'll find
other uses for the pen and blank book.
Thanks anyway.
No more poems about a morning
sun that gilds porch rails, drips honey,
electrifies the filaments of
new leaves. No more crow like a cop
in a raincoat, squirrels like over-caffeinated
pickpockets, or dog like a drunken frat boy
howling for his brothers.
It's over.
No more poetry for me.
There's no future in it, and certainly no
money. In this day and age it's a bit
embarrassing, honestly. A drug dealer is
at least a businessman. In the halls of power we
celebrate skanks and cranks of all stripes. We
can recite the details of the latest DUI of
this week's Hollywood spokesmodel, but
who can name the current Poet Laureate?
It's a sucker's game, and I'm too much
a sucker.
So, again, thanks and
see you later.
No more epiphanies, or amusing self-deprecation.
No more metaphors or similes or allegories.
No more snapshots, notes on napkins,
dream fragments.
And for God's sake, no more poems about
Death, that awesome mystery, last frontier, that
terrifying transition that gives
meaning to our lives --
Life, like this poem

Dave Morrison lives in Camden, Maine. His collections of poetry include Fail, Clubland, Six and others.
By Dave Morrison
She worked in a convenience
store on the moon.
She was the only one who
answered the ad.
She dusted shelves and
washed out the coffee
pots, put the posters in
the windows that advertised
seasonal specials.
She threw out a lot of fruit.
She stopped stocking dairy.
She was literally bored to
tears, but the paychecks
came like clockwork.

Dave Morrison lives in Camden, Maine. His collections of poetry include Fail, Clubland, Six and others.
By Dave Morrison
It was just as they described it --
a battered Lincoln Town Car
with tinted windows and a
home made paint job, parked
in the shadows by the
abandoned mill.
He never thought it would
come to this. This is what
other people did, people
with no better options. He
was about to become one
of them, and he didn’t
care any more.
Even though his thigh
muscles were trembling he
tried to appear nonchalant,
nodding to the pale figure
in the doorway, then knocking
on the car’s back window.
The window rolled down and a
hand appeared. He held out the
sweaty wad of bills and
leaned in.
. . . there’s a man . . . a Gulf
War vet
. . . in fact he’s an Army
chaplain. His
wife has left and
he’s trying to raise a teenaged
daughter by himself, but he
loses his job. He finds out that
she has started selling drugs --
starting with his meds. He doesn’t
say anything because
. . . they need
the money.”
The window rolled up.
Yes, he can see it
. . . they live in
Ohio -- no -- Kentucky. He leaves
their shabby house every day because
he ashamed that he’s unemployed
. . .
“Hey!” The figure in the doorway;
“that’s it, take off!”
As he hurries away he hears the mumbled
taunt, “Come back when you need another
. . .,” then the
sound that will signal
the conclusion of all the transactions
to come; the asthmatic laugh, like
a wire brush scrubbing
old brick.


By Dave Morrison
We are capable of
decency, kindness, bravery
and love, great love.
There is good in the world,
and it always, eventually
This is what I tell myself when
I need comfort, when some of
us act like rabid dogs, when I
recognize the same fear and
violence that killed you
crouching in my confused

Dave Morrison lives in Camden, Maine. His collections of poetry include Fail, Clubland, Six and others.

For the 9 Year-Old Victim
By Dave Morrison
Water dimpled pewter
sky gray felt
wind stiff bristle brush
the cold embraces you
like a strange but not
unwelcome friend,
the harbor empty, even
of birds -- this is not a day
one sees in the tourist
brochures or calendar
pages, but it is beautiful,
not for what it offers,
but maybe for what
it asks.

Dave Morrison lives in Camden, Maine. His collections of poetry include Fail, Clubland, Six and others.
By Dave Morrison
By Dave Morrison
At the hardware store I
buy gloves, a wire brush,
and lacquer-thinner, and
while checking out I
explain why and I want to
burn with righteous
indignation, but
I can’t.


Garish white paint
hieroglyphs on
Some kid, some
boy with no better
way to express himself;
he needs to exist, and
in order to exist you
first have to be

I remember.

Maybe one day’s worth
of anonymous notoriety
which on some days
is the best you can get, unless you
up the ante and do something
that will really get you

Young girls rarely become
destroyers, classroom-shooters,
fire-starters -- do they turn their
confusion inward, or are they
saving up their energy for

When I was young the more
daring among us would
climb the town water tower,
usually to announce our hunger
for powerful feelings by
painting a girl’s name.

Maybe every community should
erect some tall dangerous
structure so our young people
can express themselves, and
feel a sense of risk
and accomplishment, and

Or, we could encourage the
writing of

Dave Morrison lives in Camden, Maine. His most recent collection of poetry is Stethoscope..
(Hand Raised)
By Dave Morrison
How does one cease to be?
Not in that way, but . . . how
does one stop paying attention?
Not in that way, but . . . how does one
remove all mirrors, stop keeping score, stop
taking the world’s pulse, stop staring at the
mailbox, glancing at the phone, checking
email, analyzing glances, weighing
comments, how does one stop giving a
shit, being self-centered, how does one’s
attention go out instead of in, how does one
simply not mind what happens or what
people think or say, how does one simply do
what one is supposed to do without
worrying or judging, how does one
fucking relax? How does one cut down
on wind resistance, or enter the water
without making a splash? How can one be
silent and invisible and weightless, give
off no heat or smell, how does one
do that? Because I think I’d like that.
I think I’d like that better. I think I’d like
to not be so me all the time. I think I’d like
to care and not care, I think I’d like to be a
reed or bamboo, a thin resilient tree. Not
forever, just for a while.
How does one do that?

Dave Morrison lives in Camden, Maine. His most recent collection of poetry is Stethoscope..