R.T. Castleberry

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Artwork by Gene McCormick

Role Play

I take a book of this poet,
point it at the day.
The hand doesn’t
follow the language, the life.
Someone reminded me—
Elmore James or Ashbery
I knew him early.
Yeah, laughing. We met laughing.
Bearded kids and boozers, lurking
with our Coors outside a sidewalk theater,
deciding for the movie with the sailor,
for the one with the boxer.
Hefting backpack libraries,
we argued notebooks of return,
papers filled with verse and invective,
scratched out lines of revision.
The hard call of a hotel bartender
closed us out.
We walked the check,
ran to street side cab, used Corolla.
Vicious banquets, daily bottles
like neat rows of demise,
pocked the work before us.
Still, we met laughing.
We laughed all the way.

Artwork by Gene McCormick

The Healthier Resolution

After 45,
each lover has a younger birthday,
a divorce, pets for protection.
Gifting a Singapore chain in silver,
adoration scarf of Charmeuse silk,
I take them to my side for
the six hour date, eighteen month affair.
Suspicious of motive,
vodka’s embrace, the accessible dress,
I trust them when they leave.
Reduced to rawest scale,
accept closure in my lack of remorse.
Like reading in a balcony bar—
amused but waiting out the rain,
I can’t take one beauty forever.



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.