poetry by G.M. Palmer


The night sweats through the humid­i­ty,
our human­i­ty exhaust­ed on the porch
col­laps­es from the draw of breath
through the thick Autumn air.
Steam and mos­qui­toes, blood and bile
are min­gling with the mist
of burn­ing cross­es, church­es, forests
as our spir­its are paved under
by car­pet­bag­ging rev­enuers
who wor­ship at the font of progress
while drown­ing our chil­dren in the water
meant for the improve­ment of man.

The morn­ing breaks at eighty degrees
as the sun strains through ancient oaks.
Pave­ment grave­stones
mark the mem­o­ries of gen­er­a­tions
blan­ket­ed in tar and steel and con­crete
over the coquina sands of our ances­tors
fed by the silent Aucil­la and cacoph­o­nous swamps.
Old men cypress­es are slaugh­tered for clocks,
their knees cut out from under them, chok­ing
as their blood is leeched for anoth­er sub­urb
where timed rain beats the four o’ clock down­pour,
and waters the ever­grow­ing asphalt.

The day beats in vol­canic real­i­ty,
smoth­er­ing all inten­tion and thought.
The fre­oned tint­ed cas­tles lord on,
the strapped Earth beg­ging for a hur­ri­cane
more crafty than the newest build­ing codes,
they con­tin­ue in their obliv­ion
as the alli­ga­tor stalks the cul-de-sac for anoth­er poo­dle,
and anoth­er child swims for the final time
as the marcite reflects the sun onto his face,
wait­ing for mom­my to return, arms full of bags
to won­der where the house­keep­er has gone
as her favorite soaps blast into the win­dows.

The evening drifts up from the glazed streets
after cars dis­ap­pear into cement caves.
Bare feet step out into dry­ing sand
to pick ripe toma­toes for din­ner.
The sun sinks behind Span­ish moss
and a last ray dances through Depres­sion glass
to kiss the sim­ple ring that reach­es over the stove
to the spices that will kiss the wrin­kled recipe
that has defied the swell of the grow­ing years
and retains the taste of sink­ing into the fresh­est dreams.
Every native who has loved the soil and the salt
prays for peace with each day’s pass­ing.


Stray dogs are rip­ping wid­owed paper bags.
Near­by lies a bro­ken heel; a leg out of place;
a skirt, hem slung around; a mouth that sags:
a hole in a yel­low, fad­ed, made-up face.

A mon­grel tears a strip of rawhide free
from a fad­ed bag. His teeth sink in the soft skin
as bit­ter drops fall from the bal­cony
where a girl is wring­ing out her clothes again.

His ears twitch, hit with the brown sinkwa­ter
that pours from dirty panties. He turns his tongue
to lap the steady stream. The girl drops her
wet rags, cough­ing. He gnaws at the blood and dung.

The mon­grel drops his skin in the filthy light.
Her love is com­ing home to stay tonight.

G.M. Palmer preach­es, teach­es, and wran­gles chil­dren on an urban farm in North­east Flori­da. His crit­i­cism and poet­ry can be found through­out var­i­ous blogs and mag­a­zines, both in print and online. His chil­dren can be found through­out the neigh­bor­hood or at their
grandmother's house. His notes can be found on legal pads and spi­ral note­books. His busi­ness cards can be found with neat lit­tle poems on the back of them.

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One Response to poetry by G.M. Palmer

  1. ginabobina says:

    Espe­cial­ly love the last line of "Rawhide" — awe­some, grit­ty imagery.

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