ambler in a bad place

half a bag into tennessee ave
looking to mark my territory.
i left a lot behind me, but i’ll
get back there at some point.

where’d that half a bag go,
i ask the trees, the gravel,
the rotting fence to my right,
the line of cars leading
to karaoke night. but,

i’m half a bag away from a vacation.
they’re calling, they’re worried,
but i’m walking straight enough.
i can pull stars from a dirt black
canvas, i’m on the roof of a car,
is it my car, i ask the squirrel in
the branch above my head,
the little bit of nutmeg wedged
in its mouth.

i’m here for a weekend, my mouth
is full, please leave me alone.
nobody talks like that, but we
talk like that here. it’s half a bag
out of a life partner, something says
long winter, lonely hibernation.

stock up on jewels like a dragon,
i tell the dead leaves, the rust
growing up a streetlamp, the
piece of gray shoelace caught
in the blades of grass. i provide
urgency, and i get results.


Andrew Dooley is a bookkeeper and published poet from Warwick, Rhode Island. He graduated from Rhode Island College with a bachelor’s in English and Creative Writing, and published his first collection of poetry, Shine Walker, in February of 2018.

David J. Thompson is a former prep school teacher and coach who now lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Raymond Carver, John Sayles, and John Prine are high on his list of heroes. His poetry/photography book Grace Takes Me Is available from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press.