Artwork © Judson K. Evans

 

Obituary

A house with holes punched
in the walls, door kicked in
at the bottom, swinging
like a broken wing,
Chevy wrecked
and flamed in a bottle of bourbon,
muddy foot prints running up
the road, lost in the grass
and weeds of the lot
where we drank forties, stashed drugs,
and they found a cache of rusted guns.

I couldn’t look back or I’d get my face
burned, chest tattooed,
limbs disfigured,
lose the chance I thought I had
to run like a lost boy breathless
into a man I could construct
from rock and roll posters and
bird nests of poetry stolen
from late night radio.

The highway isn’t littered
with wounded
or pounded with footsteps in
hot pursuit, sirens are off,
weapons are holstered,
there’s no phone call from someone
begging my return,
no letter instructing me where I should go—

it’s empty, with street lights,
a rest stop.

 

James Underwood is a poet and English teacher hailing from the Great Lake State of Michigan. After graduating from UMBC in 1995 with a BA in English Literature, he moved to Asia, where he now lives and travels. He completed his Master of Education from Framingham State University in August 2016 and resides in central Thailand. He is an avid cyclist and runner and spends many hours a week dodging the local buffaloes.

Judson Evans is a full-time Instructor in the Liberal Arts department at The Boston Conservatory at Berklee where he has taught a range of courses, from a Poetry Workshop on haiku, prose poetry and haibun, to a course on theories of cave art and the role of the cave in ritual and philosophy. In 2007 he was chosen by John Yau as an Emerging Poet for The Academy of American Poets. He was one of the founding members of Off the Park Press, and published work in each of its three anthologies responding to provocative contemporary painters. His most recent work has been published in (print journals) Laurel Review, Folio, Volt; 1913: a journal of forms; and Green Mountains Review, and (online journals) White Whale Review and Amethyst Arsenic. He won The Phillip Booth Poetry Award from Salt Hill Review in 2013. He has collaborated with composers, such Mohammed Fairouz, Mart Epstein, and Rudolf Rojhan, who set several of his poems to music, as well as with choreographers, dancers, musicians and other poets, including Gale Batchelder, and videographers Nate Tucker and Ray Klimek. His poetry collection with Gale Batchelder and Susan Berger-Jones, Chalk Song, was released in 2021.