Troy Schoultz

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This Is What 1am Sounds Like
To a Visitor in Chicago

It’s not the low whine of police and ambulance sirens.
We have those in Oshkosh. It’s the blunt hum of the a/c
Shuddering and wheezing like a black lung victim. It’s the drip-
Drip of sweat upon me. It’s the lack of dollars and direction,
Concrete, glass and steel spiraling to clouds
Where the hell are the trees, squirrels and lakes?
It’s falling to sleep in a city without eye contact
And waking to the rage of traffic.
Feel the night,
Respect its rusted offerings.

Some Silent Movies Never Seem to Grow Old

I've always related to classic movie monsters.
Take for instance Lon Chaney's 1925 portrayal of the Phantom.
Now mad Erik was no saint, I'll grant you that---
causing chandelier vandalism, strangling stage hands,
acting rough around the edges with the beautiful Christine.
It's what you become after years of stagnant water, no sunlight,
a coffin for a bed, and a face like a skull.
But he was a romantic, damn it all,
and love, true love,
can make a lunatic out of the best of us.
No, it's the crazed, united torch and pitchfork militias
that always repulsed me,
stupid in fury,
righteous in numbers,
cowards drunk
on gut rot vigilante wine.
These are the true horrors.


Troy Schoultz is a lifelong Wisconsin resident. His poems, stories, and reviews have appeared in Seattle Review, Rattle, Slipstream, Chiron Review, Word Riot, Fish Drum, The Great American Poetry Show, Steel Toe Review, Midwestern Gothic and many others since 1997. His interests and influences include rock and roll, vinyl LPs, found objects, the paranormal, abandoned places, folklore, old cemeteries and the number five.