DB Cox

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waffle-house highways

night slides into daylightArtwork by Gene McCormick
i sag like a wounded man
behind the wheel
of a pontiac bonneville
longer than a baptist sermon
tapping gray ashes
from a vanishing number
into the open mouth
of an overworked ashtray
morning’s first victim
of the boredom
that creeps along
waffle-house highways
the cold blue light
of “oldies radio” reaches out
like a lifeline
from the back-end
of my time machine
tracking old songs
that cannot save me
nothing adds up anymore
borrow one here
carry one there
a million calculations
never satisfied
black asphalt
burning like a furnace
spilling out behind
lost somewhere
between now & not now

friday night in the drunk tank

floating over drunk tank hum
a voice
at the back of the holding cell
demands a phone call
warm blood
begins to move
back into my numb hands
from cuffs—too tight
tiny shards of glass
from a beer-bottle bar fight
embedded in my
blood-matted hair
crystal ringing
in my brain
like a beautiful
girl’s name
left eye swollen shut
thirteen dollars
stashed in the soles
of my old dingos
not enough for bail—
another friday night
in the county jail
for trying to make something
out of the emptiness
that crawls along
this boulevard
of half-remembered things

searching for the door

night steps on stage
without fanfare—
an overlaid, underpaid ladyArtwork by Gene McCormick
lingers at the intersection
of 12th street & absolute zero

like nobody can touch her
a high-stepper
with voodoo hips
perfume rising like a prayer
from her once retail body
lately relegated
to working the wholesale
side of the street—

hard-time hustler
with a face
like a city map folded
too many times—
sad eyes filled
with junk-sick rivers
she faces another night
made of waiting—

swaying in place
staring back
over her shoulder
as if she’s searching
for the door
she came in through

DB Cox
is a blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems and short
stories have been published extensively in the small press, in the US, and
abroad. He has used up most of his time and all of his options playing for
the blue multitudes jammed into the cheap neon playgrounds along the
whore-haunted streets of late-night America.