Shaping The Days by R.T. Castleberry

There is a tension, this balance that
calibrates instinct and impulse,
aligns the precise with the studied.
Crossing my legs, I check the pants crease,
shoot my shirt cuffs,
flick the filter tip directly
to the flowing gutter.

Following designs in a sniper’s journal,
memoir chapters culled from
Audie Murphy and Robert Mitchum,
I shined the smile, trained
the knife wrist, the cavalier wit.
I learned the charms of chain restaurants,
treacheries of nightshade, of obsidian.
I chose the Viberg walking boots,
military messenger bag,
Blue Hour Mont Blanc.
I tailored the second-hand to fashion.

As I step into a car, step off the stage,
I put map and manuscript away,
reach for my trenchcoat and cap.
I tease the slang of scorn,
the nomad’s cynical sidestep,
slip from aisle seat to
evening’s raveling stream.
Campanile bells claim the hours.
Laughing, I kick through dry, piled leaves,
make my concession to starkest humor.

My work has appeared in In Between Hangovers, Your One Phone Call, Roanoke Review, Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review and The Alembic, among other journals.

I am a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. I was a 2014 Pushcart Prize nominee. My work has been featured in the anthologies Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice and The Weight of Addition. My chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.

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