Photo by Chris WatsonFreight cars rattle the Flagstaff night
Shake through a neon
Cross-country mecca
Of train yard souls

A Motel 6 at 3 a.m.
Elastic silhouettes
Span the peel
And the cracks of paint and plaster

Rheumy-eyed and rolling smokes
Doing solo shots
Into the dawn’s eroding
Spastic strobe

Glowing embers ebb and flow
On the pulse
Of the mescal blood orange sunrise
Where a poet’s cry
Is realized
Out on the stitched-up illusions
Of the radiant open-road’s
Black-top heat wave oases
Where users go
To score a fix
Out on the double-line
Speed-bumping serpentine

Rte. 66 sutures
Strung-out and sidewinding
The 17 South to Sedona
Oak Creek Canyon

Phoenix out of the fire’s
Finite tumbleweed undulations
Tied-off & spiked to the vista
On a canvas with a coral blush
Where saguaros
And train tracks stagger
Along the golden arms of dusk


Who you were so strange
Would fool me sometimes lucid
With the sick chameleon of your love-hate heart

You’d become so wary you scared me
With your eerie amyloid plaques
And paranoid tangles

Talking to yourself
In your sundown bedroom mirror
Thought I’d been rifling through your diamonds and gold

You couldn’t realize
At the end
That I would have done anything for you

But I could not stop your suffering
Because only God decides
The end of human suffering

That’s what the spiritual governors of morphine
Who’d nursed you nineteen days in a hospice told me
While your cold feet ballooned in my warm palms

Fred Rosenblum is a poet living with his wife of forty-two years in San Diego, California. He served with the 1st Marines in 1968/‘69, Vietnam; fueling most of what has appeared in numerous publications over the years. His first collection of poetry, Hollow Tin Jingles, was released in February of 2014 by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company in Charlotte, NC. Fred is currently working on a second book of poetry, tending a plot at the community garden, and he and his wife spend much of their remaining time doting on their 18-month-old granddaughter who lives in Santa Cruz, CA.