‘Bree’ & ‘Song of Exile, Migration Trail’ by Alan Ray Simmons

soft cartel april 2018


She would have been 38. All my friends are suicides,
She argued, as if that made it legitimate, somehow, like
An insurance policy she bought for free.
My suicide. She always used the possessive tense.
At least she said goodbye.
She’d rather die than quit her drinking and smoking,
And did. A year later they found a cure for what ailed her.
Next time. When is that? I asked. She never replied.

And then, there was that other thing,
You, not me, in love, crazy,
Because he won’t give it up for you like you wanted him to.
You can’t trust the lawyer poet she left her husband back in Cleveland for
Without telling him first she’s coming down. I’m sorry?
Old Kentucky home, southern charm, money,
How he got his job. And she, living on creativity, and SSD.

He wanted to be wanted from a distance.
She was an artist and could write like he only wished he could.
And, because he was huge, three times her size,
He inspired her.

Song of Exile, Migration Trail

Across an ocean of water, two oceans of land,
One wave travels over sand. I, of the broken wave,
With hooves dug in, a stampede of legs and
Gas stations, bare feet and boots stuck in mud
And painted snow, chained to wheels,
Step by step without a plan,
Other than freedom to run, blend in, take a stand.

On a boat, watch your mouth. On a train, speak out,
Offer to compromise. Anxious as a torn tribal band.
Did you do well while alive? Sir, how many
Generations must one live in one place to feel at home there,
At long last? In this life? Maybe if I concentrate.

Freedom to fall out of a tree and
Survive a full planet gravity body blow and live
To spawn in the Promised Land. I, of the lucky guy,
A puffed victory smoke and my ancient run is done.

When you arrive you want your journey back.
3rd generation to set foot,
Grabbed up the soil and held it in my hand.
At the end of the road is a river. Place my stone there.

Alan Ray Simmons was born in Chicago on December 21, 1948. He attended Northeastern Illinois University, in Chicago, and won two Illinois Arts Council Awards as editor of Stone Wind Magazine, Northeastern Illinois University Press. Poet-In-Residence, City of Chicago Council on Fine Arts, 1979-80. Founder of the Blue Store Readings, Home of the Spoken Word Movement, and creator of the Main Event, the World Heavyweight Poetry Championship Fights, and The World Poetry Association, (WPA). He was Commissioner of the WPA and the World Poetry Bout Association, (WPBA), Chicago, Taos, New Mexico, 1979 – 2002. Once quoted on the front page of the New York Times. He has two books, Care Free, poems, Smithereens Press, Bolinas, California, 1982, and King Blue, a memoir, Stone Wind Press, Chicago, Illinois, 1992. His work has appeared in The Chicago Reader, Strong Coffee, Exquisite Corpse, and most recently in Queen City Review, Blue Collar Review, WORK, Out of Our, Horus-Hi Road Glyphics, Green Panda Anthologies The Next, Forage, Your Impossible Voice, Creating Chaos, Echo Literary Review, Placeholder Magazine, Blue River Review, Ariel Chart, Peacock Review, Peacock Review Anthology, Vol. II., Little Red Tree Press, 82 Review, Disappointed Housewife and Alcyone, a Magazine of Speculative Fiction. He lives in Alameda, California. Follow him at simmonsink.blogspot.com.