An international online magazine that publishes Surrealist poetry in English.
I Go Walking After Midnight
Before the sun caused cars to spill into the streets
I was alone, listening to my boot heels echo
against the sidewalk, under streetlights, spaced
like traffic cones, throwing spotlights at silence.
It's never silent, not really. The air
around here pricks my skin like pine needles.
When I pass under telephone wires
their hum enters me.
I live close to sea level but not close
enough to see waves break. If I listen intently,
I hear sirens howl like wolves in the distance.
Sometimes they travel in packs.
I wish I had nothing to say.
I feel like a dripping faucet.
I see movement. I say chipmunk.
The chipmunk stops and looks,
has no idea what I said.
He's got a nut in its jaw,
eyes me up and down,
hasn't a word for danger but...
There's a highway nearby
with trucks, louder than wind.
I see a honey bee get nasty with a flower,
the flower introverts, waits for it to be over.
This is not a metaphor—
this is nature—
you can't keep it in,
you can't fence it out.
It's happening all the time.
I've never been to the place
she goes when she drinks wine
in her small room at a folding table
for one under a small cloud
that's threatening rain.
Her cloud changes constantly
as her eyes are prone to do
when she watches television
and dreams, studying the way
actors gather in small groups talking.
The man in the fedora drinking
an old fashioned and smoking
a Viceroy Cigarette is her father.
She turns down the sound
and watches until she figures out
which of these people is her.
She would have been that child
a long time ago when she was small
enough to fit into the television screen.
She sits there watching, red wine
pooling up to her ankles, it's in her blood
and it spills from time to time,
tipping the glass and missing her lips.
The cloud descends and covers her eyes
like a blindfold until the heaviness snaps
her neck. Her head falls forward
but the television keeps playing and actors
act out a scene from when she was only 12.
Her father is angry. The house is filling up
with smoke. She doesn't remember
in the morning when she wakes up,
the cloud is gone, her father is dead,
none of this ever happened.
Daniel McGinn is a native of Southern California in the United States. He received his MFA in writing from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has been published in Rip Rap, Talus & Scree, Spillway, and The OC Weekly along with numerous other magazines and anthologies. His most recent collection of poems, The Moon, My Lover, My Mother & The Dog, was published by Moon Tide Press in 2018.