Two Poems, by Adrian C. Louis

Invis­i­ble Places of Refuge

Deep inside myself,
I am run­ning out
of places to hide.
I am an old man,
a dirty old man &
the world we knew
is fad­ing fast away.
I can­not say how I
became cov­ered with
the cob­webs common
to poor & bro­ken folk.
Dar­ling, I can­not say
if I’m spi­der or fly.


My love, I pray that you
can not see me now, but
of course you can see me
& yes, I am a walk­ing scar,
one of life’s mir­a­cles, but
you’re just a ghost, still,
the only ghost that I
dream hard about.
I will nev­er hide from
the haunt­ing you offer.


Soon I will need no
invis­i­ble places of refuge.
While oth­er spir­its float
through a dire dampness
of tears & wet kiss­es, I
will flit­ter about, brittle &
arid as pack of Top Ramen.


How I love my Top Ramen.
Top Ramen is my hemlock.
It shrinks my body & soul.
My body has grown thin
& my shad­ow so skeletal
that it often hides from me
& the palaces of memory,
from all that I’ve known.
Dear Gods of my known
& unknown universes.
I thank you for the sweet,
sweet & holy miracle
of noo­dles made from
the baked & pulverized
bones of poor folk.


I am a ghost who hates
Rapid City, South Dakota
but I need it occasionally
like a low-dose tweeker
with a week­end habit.
Exit­ing late Fri­day mass
at some exe­crable saloon, I
see some idiot has barfed
a bliz­zard of giz­zards right
next to my shiny, white SUV.
I’m guess­ing they're gizzards
because the hip­ster bistro
across the street sells them.
Giz­zards from ghost chickens.
Oh, my country…
My coun­try ‘tis of thee
sweet land of gizzardry.

Adri­an C. Louis

Adri­an C. Louis grew in north­ern Neva­da and is an enrolled mem­ber of the Love­lock Paiute Tribe. From 1984–97, Louis taught at Oglala Lako­ta Col­lege on the Pine Ridge Reser­va­tion of South Dako­ta. He recent­ly retired as Pro­fes­sor of Eng­lish at Min­neso­ta State Uni­ver­si­ty in Mar­shall. His most recent book of poems is Ran­dom Exor­cisms (Pleiades Press, 2016). More info at Adri​an​-​C​-Louis​.com

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One Response to Two Poems, by Adrian C. Louis

  1. genhuitt says:

    Ive giv­en up fried bread you know there calo­ries in that there dough my blue jeans are
    Tight­ning and breath­ing is dif­fi­cult so. Ive giv­en up fry­bread of late in an effort to real­ly lose weight , Im not actu­al­ly a glut­ton but when I trav­el I have to go by freight. Ive giv­en up fry bread for real its fra­grance has lost all its appeal I tossed out the com­mod­i­ty butet

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