White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Darren Morris is originally from Missouri, where he worked on a commercial landscaping crew, tended bar at a pool hall, and painted murals for money. He subsequently studied with Larry Levis and T.R. Hummer at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in The National Poetry Review, Memorious, Best New Poets 2006 and 2008, The Spoon River Poetry Review, Blackbird, Raritan Review, Hotel Amerika, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The American Poetry Review.

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Darren Morris



We locked the doors and climbed to the rooftop

stars above the billiards hall where we worked.

Sleepless, restless, angered by our boredom

we threw full beers across the alley’s pit

against the opposite wall where they burst

like eggs upon the brick. Only the quiet

of radials caught the wet tar of space.

We stayed up all night with our homeless thoughts,

until we shivered silent in collapse.

Words far apart where there had been many.

Deep blues, the far edge of a cooler flame

anointed us sovereign. Or was it just

the tide turning from dark to day? We had

only owned the grand magnitude of night.

How little it was, once the hidden birds

began singing their coup, since heavy trucks

started coughing through gears, since newspaper

bundles sat tight in cross-strings, since streetlights

dropped their heads hangdog dead and disappeared.

How gross at this height to be young and poor

and still awake in a Midwestern town.



Darren Morris

Lords of all, lords of nothing. This your debt

if you could not read another book,

or refused to start banking on regret.

A tax was levied on those who lingered

between persistence and moving away.

You waited it out. If you were lucky,

while you waited, there might come some music.

And when there was music, there was nothing

to do but listen. That morning it was

whistling and the whistling channeled toward us

the way erasure comes into being.

It was no bird’s call this, but human made.

Too pure to be a flute or violin,

this sound was breath-blown, puckered by the mouth

alone, some classical piece yet unknown

to us. We heard it rise as the light rose

within its resonating chamber. We

heard it closing from across city blocks,

the root river pouring over its banks.

Until at last he turned our alley’s edge,

towing his vagrancy and silver cart.

Such singing from the dorsum of his tongue,

the palate’s sublime timbral vibration



Darren Morris

perfectly pitched. His lips kissed each sharp note

and floated them up on some acoustic

fountain ricocheting in sonic waves

where we fished them like two magistrates

from our balcony seats. No comforter,

it somehow comforted us. Not gesture,

songs only indicated such. If I

stayed sober I’d have missed that final act,

and would not recall what I heard or saw

that felix culpa, my fortunate fall.

He stopped and took the hand broom from the hook,

laid down his pan and swept the detritus

from our vanishing age. For redemption

he wheeled off with those mangled cans, each one

half-filled with emptiness, half-filled with rage.








Copyright © Darren Morris. White Whale Review, issue 1.2

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