George Murray: Three Poems

PROPER PUNCTUATION

Forecasts are for chumps, he told her,
tapping the paper. Write that
down in your notebook there.

All angle and spangle, the weather
punks its tattooed forehead
into your face. A Scottish Kiss.

This is what it means to be raw.
No manufactured amp feedback
or rusty strings or rebel lowercase.

Now is an uppercut grab-bag,
baby’s third diaper full of surprises,
green commas and semicolons.

Tear up hope and use its pieces.
Reveal. Redact. Collage discontent.
Excrete what is a must.

The baby’s cheeks flush
after it feeds,
like it just came in from the cold.

Love is a sleeping pill, he told her.
Write that down, too.
But she was already long gone.

 

 

DON’T USE A .22, I’VE SEEN A .22 BOUNCE OFF A WINDOW

It’s dark enough to steal
a car battery here
where the parking lot meets the field.

Your headphones got smaller
each day you had them
until they disappeared inside

your ears and now you can’t tell
if what you’re hearing
originates outside or inside

the speaker box of bone
in which you live.
The crunch of gravel could just be

static, or someone walking their dog
on the path behind
your house, or it could be

something less dangerous,
a tipped box of bullets
rolling downhill.

That gun’s got to be around here
somewhere, said
everyone who ever lived.

 

 

INDICATOR CLICK

A reflected something twitches peripherally,
catching your attention,
so you make it twitch again and again
and one more time to complete.

Forget that moment you keep remembering
until you’ve worn it thin
enough that it’s not the same moment.
Nothing deserves that.

The taillights and headlights of traffic
strobe their less urgent
emergencies, the sound of sirens slowed
600% to a growl of wet tires.

It was your hand that moved,
your other hand that moved it,
still another hand that moved your second,
and your brain’s middle finger

that pointed where each should go.
No one is lost on a straight
road so long as back remains an option.
This is why we drive on.

Take my hand, says your hand.
There have been 52
telephone poles since the last red light.
I know the way.

 

George Murray headshotGeorge Murray lives in St. John’s and is the author of five books of poetry, including Whiteout (ECW, 2012), The Rush to Here (Nightwood, 2007), and The Hunter (M&S, 2003); one book of aphorisms, Glimpse (ECW, 2010); a book for children, Wow Wow and Haw Haw (Breakwater, 2014); as well as an unfinished novel published in his imagination. New poems from the series excerpted here are scheduled for publication in 2015.

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