the rivers of it, abridged

New York City skyline at night


Spring 2013



Rick Mullin


There was no excuse for our behavior.
Coked-up on the Parkway, downing beers
like assholes. Hell-bent for Atlantic City.
Empties rode the dashboard where a Savior
might have stood. We sped beyond our fears,
beyond belief, unfit for love or pity
to that decimated Sodom on the boardwalk.
Passing all the buses from Gomorrah
we made legendary time and dropped.

There is a hotel on Vermont that I don't talk
about. The big Monopoly, Tomorrow,
was upon us and the sun burned till it popped.
Forget the night before the morning after.
Forget the Monday bowline on the rafter.


Wheat Field with Crows

The qualms arise. Was it the alcohol,
exposure to the sun, or something worse?
Or was he overwhelmed by beauty's power?
I mean truly overwhelmed, unable
to express his feelings, lost with all
his paint and brushes. Did the mistral curse
him in the field, or was the gunshot hour
prescribed by stars, by cards upon a table?

Who really knows? And what is there to say?
Too much, it seems: The calculus of clouds,
the spreadsheets pinned to comments in a letter
to his brother. A pattern to his fits and fainting
published in Psychology Today
is said to explicate the knitted shrouds
of crows. But didn't Vincent knit a sweater
with the bastards, painting after painting?



Back to Poetry