THE VACANT BUILDINGS UPTOWN WATCH THE FIREWORKS

Some are secretly asking for tragedy.
The Tate Apartments
with its hallways full of pigeon feathers
and its dead young Sylvias

searching every room for an oven that works.
Inside the surrendered company hiring office
ten year old calenders jangle
on nicotine stained walls.

Some are inviting the flames from a great distance.
The Fox Hotel
kills time within the body of its bricks,
fighting to hold a sad and jagged smile,
its coins of plaster floating in the arsenic throats of toilets.
And don't forget your own home
with "no trespassing" signs for eyes, looking
back at you through the neglected lilacs,
its poppies still winding
through the iron gates, the constellation
of a Christmas ornament
still burning in the yellow grass.


James Nugent




THE DISH WASHER

1.
And here the sun comes again!
The cruel champion with his whips and alarms,
his chains of ringing bells
that drive all the colors to their own work.

Outside these walls a murder of crows
is protesting the slaughter
of their obscure brother Darkness. He is beaten and weak and
can't speak English, always kneeling to the luminescence,
always turning over White Center.

2.
And Sol, the poor author, he writes me all wrong;
drafting me everyday in these same tired acts;
giving me no lines in his bleak telenovela.
I see what he has written
in my broken-glass cut hands,
on the tired face of my brother sleeping across this room,
dreaming of the constant south and his babies.

3.
I stare at the clay red tiles of the dish room floor and I see
a sunset.
Blue oven cleaner gleams in channels.
On the horizon there are garbage auroras
of ricotta and wet bread, a fork and three spoons--
all are falling
in streams of blonde grease,
heading towards the valley of the drain.


James Nugent
The Adirondack Review
JAMES NUGENT has no previous publications of any note, though he does have a large collection of rejection slips. He is a poet, songwriter, and dishwasher living in Seattle, Washington. In the fall he will begin work on an MFA at the University of Washington.