Charles Rammelkamp

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“That’s the last fuckin’ time!”Artwork by Gene McCormick
A man on the sidewalk
bellows like a wounded moose;
righteous indignation ready to erupt
into retributive violence.

I am at a stoplight on Charles Street,
midtown Baltimore, early morning.
I’ve just swum half a mile at the gym.

I look around to see
who the man is shouting at.
(Me?  Have I done something to offend him?)
Across the street at a bus stop
a man reads a newspaper.
Couldn’t be him.
Nobody else seems to be around.

Is the guy crazy?
Ranting at the voices in his head?
Maybe he has one of those telephones
you stick in your ear.
Maybe he’s carrying on a conversation
with his wife, his son, his mother.

God, I wish the light would change.


Charles Rammelkamp’s latest chapbook, Mixed Signals, was just published by Finishing Line Press. His book, Fusen Bakudan (“Balloon Bombs” in Japanese), was published in 2012 by Time Being Books. It’s a collection of poems about missionaries in a leper colony in Vietnam during the war. Charles edits an online literary journal called The Potomac -