R. T. Castleberry

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No Good Decisions

A quarter of six, weather dimming
into lightning stroke, cloud-cracked moon
take a Sam Adams from the sixpack
a shot of Johnny Walker Red
take a twenty from the wallet
Lies happen here

Payoffs counted and tagged
envelopes addressed
Sister pays her debts to Montreal
running cards and dominoes
in a package store backroom
Lies happen here

Cocktail kiss, lunchtime fuck
trade indulgence for misfortune
a wife packs a separation suitcase
calls her special friend
still hungry for a first happy marriage
Lies happen here

Business of the Day

Hard news of the day,
Strong tea, an energy drink
carry me out the door.
Cracks of glass, final leaves
shimmer on the ground.
I take an outer, grassy path while
cats sidewalk sit in early light.
Pacing through nature’s awkward art--
weather-stricken wood,
limbs tangled in wire fences,
sun’s strike on a hotel’s high windows,
I pass a “Morning” with a neighbor.
As the winter damp cuts us both,
a sky of deep rain blue breaks
against ice-white clouds.
The first siren creases the air.
My beard wet with frost,
I listen till its keening fades.


R. T. Castleberry has appeared in Roanoke Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, Pedestal Magazine, Green Mountains Review, The Alembic and Comstock Review. Internationally, he has been published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, New Zealand and Antarctica. He’s had poetry in the anthologies: Travois-An Anthology of Texas Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, Anthem: A Tribute to Leonard Cohen, Kind Of A Hurricane: Without Words, Level Land: Poetry For and About the I35 Corridor and Blue Milk’s anthology, Dawn. His chapbook, Arriving At The Riverside, was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2010. An e-book, Dialogue and Appetite, was published by Right Hand Pointing in May, 2011.