Poetry » Garth Pavell »


Before The Invasion Of Cell Phones

We once made love in a phone booth
and eloped the year after college.
The obvious thing to do
next was ditch our belongings
of all that could not fit
and head west without
an address to chain down
the feeling of entering
possibilities without gravitational
flux and aim for the bullseye in the sun.

New York to Seattle in seven lazy days.
Sleeping every other night in the car
with Sonja our cat, the first of many
I suppose to come between us.
We lived all week on burgers and coke.
At that age, in that time, it was actually
the healthiest thing we could do.
Keep in mind these were the last rugged
days of mobility’s disconnection before
the past would forever gnaw at our fingertips.

I remember waking to a rain-soaked dream
drumming on the roof of our Ford Escort
at a rest stop that even insects would not call
home in the barren Black Hills of South Dakota.
We were parked at the edge wondering if someone
stood in the trenchcoated shadows of the tall trees
under a sky that had traveled its own vast distances.
I turned on the heat, donned our quilt and drove in
the dark guided by ancient trauma of undeterred stars.

A Beautiful Way To Die

I was sitting on my bed
playing acoustic guitar
when I heard the big dull
thud of a pissed-off neighbor
sucker punch my window,
I assumed while suffering
the shock of a silenced song.

I went to the window and saw
a blackbird lying on the ledge.
He apparently headbutted
the invisible at full throttle.
Aren’t birds equipped to steer
clear of man’s fortresses?
Usually they go over our heads.
As it is we’re accustomed to
being shitted on. Wonder what
the little guy had on his mind?

So get this. As I’m mourning
over the pudgy little carcass
his pal flies up and lands
on the railing, cocks his head
to the side, looks at the dead
friend then back up at me.
I didn’t do it I say without saying.
I guess he comes to a conclusion
in that little birdbrain of his
and flies off leaving me
to bag his friend. It’s a dirty job
but I feel obligated as I may have
been a fleeting pied piper fairytale.

Upon Receiving An Email Confirmation That My Stratocaster Has Been Shipped

Born in California, the American psychedelic dream is flying
from a Mississippi warehouse to my home in Brooklyn.

A birthday present to myself slicing through the black and blue
sky like some mystic pendant around the neck of society.

A time-honored tradition ticks within the FedEx box, illuminating
Hendrix’s voodoo that beautifully assaulted our national anthem.

Lonesome honky tonk, the melodious choir of Ted Greene, the list grows
on the worldwide tree that is now bending its lighted wood toward me.

Although today the good and evil sunburst sleeps in its cold-blooded case,
the pure maple will soon be warmed by the calloused fire of my fingers.

The air is crisp and bright now, simmering summer spent researching
my autumn-colored axe that will soon crackle with the fallen leaves.