Monday, April 18, 2022

Brian Townsley


a Sonny Haynes joint

I sat in a booth in the corner of
the Starlite Diner like a gargoyle
to ward off the sober. It was
midnight, then not, &
the Four Roses bottle became
lighter as the morning wore.
Sunrise came as single
piano notes without
a song
to accompany them.

The walk home
up the stairwell
seemed longer
than the return
to Ithaca.

I replayed the scene,
again, saw nothing new. She
was still dead. The sun
also sets.
I ran the .45 across
my teeth, the click
& drag of it. Held my
hand out. No
shakes. Good, I guess.
A woman’s laughter
from the street below
eked through
the drawn blinds.

Balancing the empty bottle
on my stomach
as I lay there, it rose
& fell in rhythm. Think of
how life is what it is,
how it was. There’s
a thought. How every story
is a ghost story. Scars
don’t heal, never mind
the clich├ęs, the dead ceiling
stares back &
so I close my eyes
to the
like tomorrow
were eternity,
and assume it’s not

Brian reads "every story is a ghost story":

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Brian confesses: "Sonny Haynes is a character that was the subject of my novel, A Trunk Full of Zeroes, and also a new collection of shorts, Outlaw Ballads, that will be released soon. This particular poem has him dealing with the loss of his wife."

BRIAN TOWNSLEY has a Master of Professional Writing (MPW) degree from USC, and has published work in many journals, including Black Mask, Connecticut Review, Danse Macabre, Quarterly West, Berkeley Poetry Review, Frontier Tales, and Mystery Tribune, to name a few. He was a recipient of the AWP Intro Award for poetry, and had a short story make the 'distinguished stories' list in the Best American Mystery Stories, 2019.

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