Dan Flore

I went into the bar…

I went into the bar
to get drunk,
I came out-
a poet.
They followed me
all the way home
trying to get me
to pay the bill.

At night I talk by gravestones…

At night,
I talk by gravestones
stars are their sulfur words-
peculiar, but not mumbled
than sounds from
the ghosts
of the living.


I remember smiles in the snow
as paper mache’ midnights
and every car was warmer than home
and before tomorrows phone call to another
I should’ve prayed or toasted yesterday
I write this now
and the past is singing a dream in my bones
tap your car
where do the wheels go?

O Andrew
when there was no one
you smiled at me wide
where tomorrows spilled over the edge of our table-
our dreams caught by the waitress
a little booth in a little restaurant
on the edge of a town even littler
we had just gotten there and I was beginning to miss you already
it’s time to get the check
before we go
draw me your eyes
tap your car
where do the wheels go?

and Doug,
a lost night is hovering
it’s out on the deck of your apartment
is it a haze we can have?
could you capture it if you found that forgotten poem of mine
lost in your old books?
does what’s gone somehow go on?
ask the clock on your wall
does what never was remain what it is supposed to be ?
ask destiny it’s hidden in midnight
the long ash is about to fall
tap your car
where do the wheels go?

and Steve,
wanna go to a convenience store?
I think there’s one in the glove compartment
God, I’m sorry.
I’m just tired tonight old friend
what I meant to say is I think there’s some coupons in the glove box
we can grab some food with them
can we make this tonight last ten minutes longer?
can we slow down the coming tomorrow?
actually, I don’t want it to ever come
since we can see its craters are better-
let’s get to the moon
Oh no, I can see the comets
and the stars start to shoot
tap your car
where do the wheels go?

and Jame,
the money should be in at 2am
this lotto ticket dough will only get us so far
here’s our playing cards
shuffle the deck until we go back in time
or maybe to the future
keep all of the jokers wild cause
I don’t laugh with anyone this way
but the worst was when
you started to lift the curtain
of this night to somewhere far away
far away from me
and I feel you in the deepest part of the waters we looked out at
when every word rhymed with forever
I should’ve prayed until my knees hurt that it wouldn’t end
but I didn’t
tap your car
where do the wheels go?

and God,
your sun only comes out on sweet mornings after
and I only know these smiles from yours
and God, this poem is all red
red as the sky that all of us waited for
and do you replay these nights in heaven?
these dreamlike nights
these moments gone
these precious faces
I give to you
under this night that has seeped into so many others
though with so many more
with the fuzz of the stars around your hair and all of my tears,
with tomorrow a wave I may never touch,
I ask you as humbly as I can
to tap the cars and tell us
where do the wheels go?


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