tim peeler



We were leaving our seventh grade math class
A straight line passing the white shirted flat
Top male teacher who cynically referred
To himself as a "professional" when
The line halted, the hall blocked by the gray-
Haired science teacher, her wooden paddle
Raised, her left hand wrenching the arm of a
Small black boy named Charley, who sobbed and
Begged as the first thwack landed on what she
Could hit till our math teacher, the flat top
"Professional" stepped in to hold Charley
Still for another and another thwack.
Tears flooded the boy's face, as he squirmed
To escape before the next connection*
The loudest yet, like a rifle report,
Then another duller thud as our line
Slinked toward the lunchroom. Before we made
The corner I heard Charley scream out he
Never touched that white girl*another thwack
Echoed down the hallway and out the door
Into the sunlight and the grassy school



Tuesday waits, stitched stars and painted darkness,
Fears I smell in oxygen, oddities
At 30,000 while the world sleeps,
A stewardess leans against an empty
Cart; I call for a drink, she scowls beside
Where a pin light watches my book turn down
A page; I feel the right wing dip, my drink
Is hot; the red light blinks on the coffee
Pot; Tuesday waits, an army of cold winks,
Stars and their orbiting apostles shrink
As we seethe an invisible dawn trail.



where this train of days
dives into the earth,
where poems are launched and fail,
lost in the point spread,
the pint poured,
in the squeaky joists of memory,
in the grainy gray rain
beating the basement window,
in the cold wet descending rhythm,
this intemperate edge,
this lost black train of days,
in the kept dog's steady misery,
the diving, deeper, deeper.


     Tim Peeler's most recent books include WRITER'S ON THE STORM (with Carter Monroe and Robert Canipe) and WAITING FOR GODOT'S FIRST PITCH.

He has published THIRD LUNG REVIEW since 1987.


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