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Poems By Patrick Carrington


Purple Eyes

No one in the small Dixie town
had ever seen purple eyes
or beauty that could melt ice,
and they said it was a shame
you were born in a chicken shack.

Women of nobility protect their children
from white trash. When you called
looking for a playmate or walked
them home from school with blackberries
smeared on your face and a torn dress
and dirty feet, the mothers sent you
away with reprimands, insults.

When their daughters had parties
in white-columned palaces, you were
forbidden. When their sons brought
presents up the dirt road to your house,
they would chide them because you
weren’t proper, because you lacked
the grace of southern womanhood. And
because they had seen your purple eyes.

They would gossip how your mama
never brought you to Sunday services,
how your daddy had run off with a black
girl. They made you cry in the dark, and
you remembered. Now, you stand

in a red-lit doorway looking
like August heat, and you don’t
do it for the money. Your name

is whispered over a church pew
by a woman in an Easter bonnet
whose son is off at college, as you
tie your jet-black hair around her
husband’s waist. Your name

is whispered on a marble porch
by a woman in a rocking chair
at afternoon tea club as your
tongue enters her husband’s
mouth. Your name

is whispered in a tile kitchen
by a woman preparing holiday dinner
as your purple eyes burn holes
in her husband’s soul. Soon,

the mayor will knock. And
the preacher. Tonight,
your purple eyes possess
the town, and send it to hell.

(first appeared in Clark Street Review)

Hard Candy

Lipstick smiles and fishnet invitations
to sugar heaven, a perfume paradise
that pulls you through the tunnel
with aroma, sticky thoughts
of candy on street corners.
And now you seek out
red lights.

The stopping sucks one
to your window,
a slice of strawberry

who will fuck you for five dollars
and your watch,

but baby, it’s a Rolex,
good to 5 fathoms,

and cut your throat for free.

(first appeared in Zygote in My Coffee)

Workshop Hands

Before we find those places
that we fit, you pool.
Ribs rise, a gasp and grind
as if it already is. Yes,

it will happen low in a hard press,
but not until you know my hands.
Palm to waist and finger curl,
a scraping scratch and spread.

Do you feel the ocean,
the oak? Hook and nail?

Blood is leaking so you know
the sliced bluefish, the rub
of worked wood. The cock
that hardened for the reel,
petrified for every hammer hit
on timber. Slanted stiff

for feeding, for building,
the way it rises and rocks now
to nourish you, reconstruct you.
To spin you in, gut and sand you

(first appeared in Clean Sheets)

A Pushcart-nominated poet and native of New York City, Patrick Carrington teaches creative writing in New Jersey. He is the poetry editor for the art & literary journal Mannequin Envy (www.mannequinenvy.com). His poetry has appeared in numerous print journals and anthologies, most recently The Roanoke Review, Confrontation Magazine, The Marlboro Review, Pearl, The Raintown Review, Main Street Rag and Mobius, and on-line at The New Hampshire Review, The DMQ Review, Pedestal Magazine, Slow Trains, Adagio Verse Quarterly, and many others.



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