Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Patrick Carrington

The Logic for Improving a Neighborhood

Itís 3 in the morning. My crazy neighborís
drunk and sleeping in the garden
under my window again. He snores
like a lawnmower, trimming
the rowdy edges off my dreams.

Iím willing to show him a little tolerance.
Itís more than just community spirit
or thanks for manicuring my nightmares.
He has fair reason to seek comfort
face down in geraniums. Thereís something

sensible in flowers he canít find at home.
They have a valid reason for being,
even if itís nothing more
than the organized way they trick
the eye, con you into believing

in beauty again. His wife just knitted
a wool sweater for their toy poodle.
Overkill, he told her. It already has
a coat. Putting a sweater on a dog
is like topping off the ocean with a hose.

He offered to sharpen her focus
and shave the rodent first, waved
his straight razor like rat poison. It adds
a coziness to the block hearing Iím
not the only one in need of grooming.

She said if he was finally energetic, ready
to denounce death and ascend
from the lazyboy like Christ
to redeem their world, he could start

by repairing the shutters on the porch.
Theyíre hanging off the windows
like an unbuttoned shirt. He feels not
only a certain justice in that striptease

of rot, but also the same legitimacy
for existence as his bed of flowers.
The constant need to clothe it reminds
him of his naked history, the epic

of decay, how he lost a house of dreams
by degree, one shingle at a time,
each a piece of himself
he let go and can never quite reclaim.

The Importance of Water

Tell me about the moon
old man, how it pulls,
how its light bounces
off the sea at night.

Tell me how dewdrops
kiss their leaves,
how rain makes wine.

Show me.

Make me look at the ocean
and see its salt, see
the shaping of the sand,
the wonders of a liquid hand.

Each time I see the moon
or swim on a beach at sunset,
or cry, or tell my daughter
of the worth of water,
I will remember you.

Give me memories,
old man.

©2007 by Patrick Carrington

Patrick Carrington is the poetry editor at Mannequin Envy. He has work forthcoming in The Evansville Review, The New York Quarterly, Poetry Southeast, The Eleventh Muse, The GW Review, and elsewhere. He has just won Codhill Press' annual chapbook competiton with his manuscript Thirst, which will be released in early 2007. His book-length collection, Rise, Fall and Acceptance (2006) is available at Main Street Rag Publishing.

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