When in Roam (A Poetry Collection) – from DAN FLORE

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teenage poet mating rituals

“Blood on the tracks”
skipping in the CD player
squawking geese across the street
headlights crawling the ceiling
ashing in a coke can
lying on an old mattress
poems and poems
tattooed in jagged ink stains
across moleskins and mead notepads
insanity words french kissing
in the indigo night
I hear her saab pull into the driveway
the only lines that matter now
are the ones
I will read to her

The Old Writer of Telford

He lived in a dilapidated house with shitty lighting.
He drank too much and wrote too little.
His concerns were pot and Hemingway trivia.

In the mornings,
he made fresh pots of coffee
turned on the news
had nice conversations with the cat.

With his reading glasses sliding off his nose,
his newspaper spread across his lap
and his slippers on his feet
he sat in an easy chair
as if he were waiting

for his wife and children
to come down the steps.

Looking through the top of a covered bridge

here they are returning
the words I never thought I’d write again

the kind that keep the clover deep green
that only come when head and gut
are connected by seaweed
words that are the trees that line the street
with the house I grew up in

words with no woman waiting
words that remember the top of an A-line dress
slipping down her shoulder

this is when the trails in the park go on forever
when the music is only
what you sing in a cracking voice
where every note recalls a dream
that took you to the top of the sky
and everybody kissed goodnight

the moon through your window yellow and warm
everything now is damp and drafty

whatever hallway I’m turning in tonight
it has all of this
in the pictures that line the wall

I scrape the texture of the paint
a lost heaven a blown kiss
lodged under my fingernail

Family Movie Night

Alone,watching an old vhs I found
Starman we taped off the TV
A family favorite

I’m sure my dad was excited
it was being broadcast
we’d have our own copy for free!

A little bit of an old commercial did not get edited out
It cuts abruptly, back to the movie
At this moment
I wanted to be there then

See my father pressing pause
See the wedding band he no longer wears
See my mother with a bowl of popcorn,
laughing at his hurrying to the VCR
See myself asleep on the pull out bed
and try to wake me up

there is no alone like homeless alone
but I remember the other guys at the shelter
I remember listening to them intently
everything they had to say always sounded so important
like life and death really
they’d stand across the street in the “smoker’s spot”
(the only place you were allowed to light up,a part of the sidewalk they definitely owned)
and they’d puff and say things like
“Yeah man!”
or “I said look asshole…”
or I KNOW that’s right!”
and everything they said was mostly clichés but they were all poets to me
their speech raspy as their winter coats
but with the same clarity as the snow that fell the whole time I was there
as clear as they spoke though
I can’t remember one specific thing they’d talked about
I guess the subject matter fizzled away in my mind
because I was so busy trying to survive
I still remember their faces during bible study at night though
a circle of angels
white faces in rags beaming
all looking like they knew something mystical you didn’t
and they probably did
and I remember the social worker John at dinnertime
“Food!” “We got SO MUCH food guys!”Seriously y’all are gonna eat good!”
he said it with such enthusiasm
you’d have thought he was telling us we were all going home
I think he said it with such exuberance because he didn’t want us to worry about where our next meal was coming from
and for that I’m grateful
but what I was most grateful for
were the white sheets that were put on the couch I slept on
it was just a little touch that made things feel normal
I never knew who put them on there
but at lights out they were always there for me
clean and fresh
like they would be if you were spending a night at your parent’s house
I kinda like how I never found out who made up my couch
it lets me believe that it was some spirit watching over me
who was saying every night with them
“goodnight Danny boy”
“you must be tired.”
“you need your rest.”
“sleep well, you’ll be alright here.”



Dan Flore’s poems have appeared in various online and print publications such as Many Mountains Moving, Eunoia Review, Short, Fast, and Deadly and Quantum poetry magazine. He has read his poetry throughout Pennsylvania. Dan teaches the writing of poetry as a tool for coping with mental illness. He was awarded the Florence Kerrigen memorial scholarship to the Philadelphia Writer’s Conference. Dan has published three collections of poems-lapping water, humbled wise men-Christmas haikus and home and other places I’ve yet to see. All have been favorably reviewed.

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