poetry by G.M. Palmer


The night sweats through the humidity,
our human­i­ty exhaust­ed on the porch
col­laps­es from the draw of breath
through the thick Autumn air.
Steam and mos­qui­toes, blood and bile
are min­gling with the mist
of burn­ing cross­es, church­es, forests
as our spir­its are paved under
by car­pet­bag­ging revenuers
who wor­ship at the font of progress
while drown­ing our chil­dren in the water
meant for the improve­ment of man.

The morn­ing breaks at eighty degrees
as the sun strains through ancient oaks.
Pave­ment gravestones
mark the mem­o­ries of generations
blan­ket­ed in tar and steel and concrete
over the coquina sands of our ancestors
fed by the silent Aucil­la and cacoph­o­nous swamps.
Old men cypress­es are slaugh­tered for clocks,
their knees cut out from under them, choking
as their blood is leeched for anoth­er suburb
where timed rain beats the four o’ clock downpour,
and waters the ever­grow­ing asphalt.

The day beats in vol­canic reality,
smoth­er­ing all inten­tion and thought.
The fre­oned tint­ed cas­tles lord on,
the strapped Earth beg­ging for a hurricane
more crafty than the newest build­ing codes,
they con­tin­ue in their oblivion
as the alli­ga­tor stalks the cul-de-sac for anoth­er poodle,
and anoth­er child swims for the final time
as the marcite reflects the sun onto his face,
wait­ing for mom­my to return, arms full of bags
to won­der where the house­keep­er has gone
as her favorite soaps blast into the windows.

The evening drifts up from the glazed streets
after cars dis­ap­pear into cement caves.
Bare feet step out into dry­ing sand
to pick ripe toma­toes for dinner.
The sun sinks behind Span­ish moss
and a last ray dances through Depres­sion glass
to kiss the sim­ple ring that reach­es over the stove
to the spices that will kiss the wrin­kled recipe
that has defied the swell of the grow­ing years
and retains the taste of sink­ing into the fresh­est dreams.
Every native who has loved the soil and the salt
prays for peace with each day’s passing.


Stray dogs are rip­ping wid­owed paper bags.
Near­by lies a bro­ken heel; a leg out of place;
a skirt, hem slung around; a mouth that sags:
a hole in a yel­low, fad­ed, made-up face.

A mon­grel tears a strip of rawhide free
from a fad­ed bag. His teeth sink in the soft skin
as bit­ter drops fall from the balcony
where a girl is wring­ing out her clothes again.

His ears twitch, hit with the brown sinkwater
that pours from dirty panties. He turns his tongue
to lap the steady stream. The girl drops her
wet rags, cough­ing. He gnaws at the blood and dung.

The mon­grel drops his skin in the filthy light.
Her love is com­ing home to stay tonight.

G.M. Palmer preach­es, teach­es, and wran­gles chil­dren on an urban farm in North­east Flori­da. His crit­i­cism and poet­ry can be found through­out var­i­ous blogs and mag­a­zines, both in print and online. His chil­dren can be found through­out the neigh­bor­hood or at their
grandmother's house. His notes can be found on legal pads and spi­ral note­books. His busi­ness cards can be found with neat lit­tle poems on the back of them.

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One Response to poetry by G.M. Palmer

  1. ginabobina says:

    Espe­cial­ly love the last line of "Rawhide" — awe­some, grit­ty imagery.

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