Old School Empty, a poem by Michael Channing

Old School Empty

by Michael Channing

he steers through fog
thicker than smoke
radio louder than hell
he’s seventeen and only been kissed
by one person
only ever been loved by animals

he drives to outrace the unwinding tape
the final scene of the rerun
before the freeze frame
captures him smiling among the extras
bowed to canned applause
retreat reload restart

he drives
past tobacco fields and gas station churches
past the new school and the old school empty
past dead trees and dead houses
the dead mall and the dead theater
and the dead

the moon fails to put a shine
on these lustless unremarkable hauntings

he chooses random road after road
the dice in his head
in three years’ time will roll up boxcars
and the ghost he hopes his father
would keep to himself will unpack
and make itself home

More Than a Man Can Endure

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Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing

June 2, 2023