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Poetry by Catherine Daly


The Drunkard's Legacy. In Parts.


First, a gentlemen having a wild son
had a cottage built with one door locked;
the son promised to open it when he was poor.

Secondly, the son pawned his estate to a vintner, who evicted him.
The son broke open the cottage door.
He found a gibbet and halter,
which he put round his neck. Jumping off the stool, the gibbet broke.
A thousand pounds came down upon his head. It was a ton of money.

Thirdly, he redeemed his estate. He fooled the vintner.
The vintner, jeered by his neighbors, cut his own throat.

Lastly, the son's reformation,
very proper for all given to drunkenness to read.



American Beauty: Night


Walk out against street poles, facades,
big scale, blotted by neon, larger than death,
like emergency flares. Oh, firmament.

Dogfighters, hunger, hunger,
old war, new war, the addict's underlying injuries,
the object's lying grin.

To progression, too much is silent. Gravel crunches
underneath broughams, the cigarette is stubbed, bent,
kissed with lipstick on the tip.

Tall shadows ask, are you sure? Flash
back, walking, walking, watched,
behind blind slats, darkened room, rooming house,
crash pad, stake out, lights out.

"No one will hurt you unimportant ways."
Comport yourself within this machinery of want.
Asphalt, characterless streets, shadowy parks, anonymity,

feet meet peculiar pavement and stench:
walk down forever and observed.

Mean studios bring you back to sleep.
What were those stars?
"Defining space effectively presents the experience of emptiness."

A chandelier without candles, with flame-shaped light bulbs,
a Chandler with no lights at all, facelessness,
a text mixed as the next newspaper fluttering along the alleyway.



About the Author


Catherine Daly's first book, Locket, will be published by Tupelo Press, which can be found at http://www.tupelopress.org.