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David Bankson







The world fogged its lights

and draped gray in our eyes

like shuddering clouds

above a darksome land.

The day

heard the city awaken

and broken

as the land fractured apart from front to back,

the reflection in your eyes

gray catbirds deep in a shadowed forest.

I forgot

you walked these grounds before,

the clouds in your wake,

the shaky yesterdays

hungry for your smile,

a darkness for two,

the growing fog

and you,

before I happened along.

Before that,

candles fizzled

into a sulphur wisp.

After all this time

we're stumbling here,

where a milk-and-water past


I remember

you glowed like a phantom:

your fog to my smoke,

your eclipse to my night,

a fulcrum for a world of tomorrows.

What's Left After Suicide

Lakes are nothing but the ground's failure

to rise above. We measure entry wounds

only once death is rooted into flesh and bone

and hasn't blown out the back.

Before the mind thinks its last -

a mountain just wide enough

to block what's left of a family.

My uncle is saying something

about memory and purity from beyond.

I don't remember what my cousin said

in his sleep about the suicide,

but it was a language

shared by the two of us.

Once life took us away, we forgot it all.

Body may not be the best word to describe a lake,

but it will do in this case.

Doubt may not float on water,

but what else to do with it but drown?

"Animal" doesn't mean apathetic,

and "Man" doesn't mean aesthetic.

The knob won't turn when I want to see inside.

In the fugue they say the sky

is a solid hue of blue.

I'm listening.

I'm listening as if the sky were singing,

not in memory, euphoria, story. More about

the deep lake that reflects the sky,

bracing body against the bitter cold.


the stepping stones they say path

the way to my bed are bordered

by trees fixed & ordered

into lines of highway crosses

they ignite the dark of night

again dripping rain

fills the creek

& Spotify floods my mind

more every day

this overpass was an exit

path from towns

built for my kind

fleeing fires beneath

moon & martyr

I have all

that I need yet

I'm panicking

streetlights won't protect us

I press on

incapable of feeling

the corpses beneath my feet


They separate

I claim their winter

A lifetime so plain

that the harness


From my lap I

hunger for it, separating, from my plexus

snowflakes listening

A lifetime so wet

the tip freezes

What did my psyche

do before it collected seconds?

I have no memory

Like a clavicle

Like a pearl

Like a mistake

Here I am then,

a monk in supplication

Is this life, this absurd


In fleetingness I

trespass, temporary

in salt, fateful

from fire

Tragic or characteristic

What could the land beneath me do

without the grip of my boot?

This ruby life has no snowflake saved for me

What does the snowflake

need without will to power?

I drift asleep for a moment, falling

into my mind, blind from winter glare

Is this experience then, learning to see?

Nag Champa

Stone bed -

the drifter's temple has collapsed.

haze-colored horizon

sodium-light galaxies

Is this homeland? What is my homeland?

The breeze smells of notions of folklore

methodical deviancy.

The party enveloped in incense

& elegance.

Intense nationalism &

dark lamps for everyone else.

Mumbai moans

Bengaluru melodizes.

New Delhi constantly howls.

Story Circle

Tell of darkness in a coal miner's heart,

balsam fir sapling surrounded by ancestors,

all the hearts of man expelling words

of warning. Say the house's roof

is a den of illicit activity. Invoke

empty stone wells & death masks,

cracked teeth, a sunset stained with wine.

As another night ruptures in the throat,

scream the primal truth--though stories

are honey, let us grasp the barbed wire tonight.

The Sound of Fire

My ears are tree leaves covered in lichen.

Or my leaves are not tree leaves but paper,

White with old White-Out, tucked into a notebook

Of poems.

                                      Or my papers aren't papers;

Instead, they're paintings of antique pastiche.

They're as small as an anti-mélange.

In my tiny mind, the paintings don't seem to fit:

They're tall and somewhat unmoving

Like a revolution.

                                         Like the hydrodam,

These things are blocked; and the right, with its faded

Sounds, is different than the left. (It wasn't long

Ago with infection, the eardrum scarred.)

Your ears hear what they want, a woman says.

Another says, your ears must be burning.

About the Poet

David Bankson lives in Texas. He was finalist in the 2017 Concīs Pith of Prose and Poem contest, and his poetry and microfiction can be found in concis, (b)oink, {isacoustic*}, Artifact Nouveau, Riggwelter Press, Five 2 One Magazine, and others.

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