White Whale Review: An Online Literary Magazine Untitled Document
Nora Bee
Nora Bee is a writer living in Oakland, CA. She watches too much PBS.
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Nora Bee

Swannanoa River Poem


Our beer is fresh off the union truck from the factory down the Baptist road,

cold in plastic cups cracked from the weight of replaceable beauty scattered

across the night-valley, forgetting when we were Carolina, when we were Georgia,


how our rifles were cocked and prepared for battle and virtue-less disagreement.

Some things last but refuse to stay the same, like dull outlines of gods and prophets

etched into the riverbed, washed away but never gone, invisible to our eyes


stripped of regret and dignity, cold and bitter and sweating in the deep Southern drum of night,

humming with crickets and open-toe shoes with soft souls for being spun by bristled old men,

and a banjo is calling hold me, hold me, hold me in the summer heat.


Desperate and dizzy and drunk when we kissed, I dreamed my love

could make your chest soft and round until the dried apple of my heart exploded,

revolting, and my proud coast of solitude and gray skies lit up


prepared for battle and virtue-less disappointment.

Nora Bee

Garden State Parkway


They say if you drop a penny from the top of the Empire State Building it will kill a man.

Black Friday, Black Monday, Black Tuesday -- hairlines move with the country, receding

towards the horizon until men in cheap suits are invisible, blending across state lines.


It would be easy to abandon everything: a suitcase and five o'clock shadow, past due bills

and collections notices; a good market, a bad market, a bull market, a supermarket

with buy-one-get-one and 10 for $10 sales. Trading stocks, trading bonds, trading food stamps


for cigarettes on a street corner somewhere in Newark's steel stretches of deep blue,

oasis of newsreels and print, steel-cage elevators and storage units, copper wires and pennies

flattened by trains splitting New Jersey in two. This town's pages are dog-eared, flipped over in waiting,


with loose change piled up underneath the seats of the car to throw in toll booths, with cigarette-

burned ties

and socks needing darning. You cannot choose fate; fate chooses you, holds you, cradles you in all

this Americana,

from rest stop to rest stop to piss and move on, until you and your country fold in to one another.





Copyright © Nora Bee. White Whale Review, issue 1.3

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