Larry Narron

Netherworld

            San Francisco

At night, in this closet I rent for five
hundred dollars a month, I stay up & sip
from a fifth of cheap whiskey & gaze

up at the forest of the exposed
pipes over my head, lip-sync the song
they hum in the muffled language

of copper. I’m the captain of a ship
on her maiden voyage across a landless
netherworld with a familiar moon.

When I stagger the deck in my sleep,
my callused feet whisper obscenities
into the knots in the hardwood floor.

Voiceover for the Pacific

The only one of my victims
that still haunts me wears

a wreath of emerald waves
that crashes & spills over

her shoulders. Even as she was
alive, she waltzed like a ghost

to my Chinatown alleyway flat
& sat in the gutted window

frame after leftovers, chugging
six-dollar wine from a bottle

as she stared out over the sloping
hill where clothes wavered on

lines drawn between buildings
as if to keep them buoyed.

Author Portrait

Larry Narron washes dishes full-time at Reed College in Portland, Oregon, and teaches part-time at Pacific University in nearby Forest Grove, where he recently received an MFA in Poetry. A graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, his poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Midway Journal, Eleven Eleven, Phoebe, Free State Review, Permafrost, Whiskey Island, Gravel, The Boiler, and other journals.