Patrick Walsh

POETRY (a rotating sample of published poems)



If you drove a Camaro

Or a Z-28

On the Rock of Gibraltar

Or the Isle of Wight

They might think you’re a star

Or the prince’s cousin

But out on Long Island

They’re a dime a dozen.
"Relativity" was published in The Columbia Review, Vol. 80, No. 1, 1999.


Glaser Safety Slugs

A mercury tip – we all know what that does to a melon,
Yet Harry said he’s seen a .357 bounce off a windshield.

No doubt, the Devastator’s a complete misnomer,
But you gonna be some cowboy running in with a .44?

Say you’ve got an armed felon holed up in a house
Or you have to board a crowded 747;

Better still, you’re on the plane at altitude
Then the shit hits the fan – now what are you gonna do?

Glaser Safety Slugs, guaranteed one hit, one drop,
A liquid-Teflon suspension of #12 shot.

No ricochets, no strays tearing through cabin walls;
Massive penetration: only your man falls,

Not the pilot cowering behind him or the three kids in coach.
Forget about dumdums, put those in your snub-nose.

"Glaser Safety Slugs" was published in Cimarron Review, No. 131-132, Spring/Summer 2000.


Missing Person

You rise during the commercial break to leave the living room.
It’s behind you now, the blue and white flashes on the walls,
The coffee table where you left your drink, a cold tumbler
With popping ice.  You think: something to eat would be nice.

But you never get there.  The front door is open this August night
And, like the moths in their frenzy around the porch light,
You’re drawn to have a look.  Cool evening: its summered air,
Unfiltered through the mesh screen, stirs a nameless pang.
Outside, your field is fallow but the moon is ploughing its rows.
The crickets play – what would you call it – their busy signal.

Across the valley a luminous cone makes its way, turning into
A pair of glowing red eyes: old Moses McGovern
Comes down from the mountain.  You hear an audience applaud –
Everything you want is at hand and your life is good, thank God.
And it’s not like there’s some need long-ignored, some plan
You never got around to fulfilling; it’s all sitting in that room . . .

But the night has a way of subsuming all nights.
And what are dreams?  And why can you just as easily see
Your house narrowing with distance as you walk alone
Through the silver-blue shadows of trees?

“Missing Person” was published in The Hudson Review, Volume LII, No. 1, Spring 1999.


Parting's Greatest Hits

The dust the mare stirred had all but settled
When I turned to see you shift in your saddle.

As afternoon rose from dewy morning
I watched your ship slide free from her mooring.

Blue arcs atop the dining car’s pantograph –
Fireworks you missed eating pain au chocolat.

I thought: Any second now she’ll tell the driver to stop.
One hour later, and still hunched on my stoop.

All I could do once your plane had taken off
Was stare at that passage in Platonov.

“Parting's Greatest Hits” was published in Barrow Street, Summer 2004.


The Course of Human Endeavor

Because a summer squall tossed the toys
Of Xerxes, son of Darius, ruler of Asia,
As he played in his bathtub, the Aegean;

Because the wine-drunk sea slammed into
A bridge of boats the emperor himself
Ordered built to span the Hellespont
So his armies might conquer Greece;

Because the obdurate ocean, as in a rage
Grown purple in the storm clouds’ shade,
Capsized four hundred Persian triremes,
Their cargoes and captains besides,

Four thousand men waded into the waves
To flog the foam with brass rods,
Repeating, as they flailed, a malediction:

O bitter water, your master punishes you
Because you have crossed him,
Though he never crossed you.

“The Course of Human Endeavor” was published in Quadrant, Volume LIII, Number 4, April 2009.


Mad Shoutouts

Stevens didn’t live to give his homeys mad shoutouts;
He gave his friends fruit – that’s all they had back then.

We can give a mad shoutout to Stevens, though he’s dead;
Exchange his roo-coo-coo’s for yo-yo-baby-yo’s.

And why the hell not?  He deserves a mad shoutout,
Perched upon his porch observing unimagined orders

Like so many mad shoutouts one hears every Friday night.
Yeah, I want to go to Stamford some extraordinary evening

When Grandmaster Flash is at Tipton’s live-mixing
And send old Wallace a mad shoutout.  And hand Flash a pineapple.

“Mad Shoutouts” was published in Barrow Street, Summer 2006.


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