Jeff Weddle

Ragged Angels
 
Young ones 
in small rooms 
chasing the poem 
chasing the story 
 
going crazy 
 
starving for something 
they cannot name.
 
Drunk 
at noon 
and midnight 
and four a.m. 
 
Young angels
wandering 
hard streets 
with desperate eyes 
angry 
and in love 
 
lost on the edge 
of nowhere.
Beware them.
They are vast 
and magic 
 
as the moon 
soothes nothing 
as the sun 
burns their eyes 
as the sidewalks 
lie hard 
cracked 
and unforgiving 
beneath 
their holy feet. 
 
They are
explosives
meant
to shatter you 
 
and keep daggers 
hidden 
in worn notebooks 
which you will someday 
plunge willingly 
into your own heart.
 
They need nothing 
you could ever give.
 
Heaven means only
the right words spilling 
from their hands.
 
This is their salvation 
all they ever 
desire.
 
I know them.
Beware.
 
I was once
among their
host.
 
 
 
 
How It Goes
 
The girls in their pretty dresses 
protected by desks and distance 
from the dumb, eager boys 
and the old letches with their books and chalk
and dandy dreams, heroes of past seduction
and then the hallways 
packed with no one wanting to be there 
and the girls in their pretty dresses 
and first-try makeup 
lipstick bright and shining 
sometimes sad often laughing 
these queens 
of every imagined romance 
objects of hard desire 
and all the old men 
in the teachers’ lounge 
heading home to old women 
or empty rooms 
while the bright, clear day 
becomes dark 
and soon is years past 
and years more gone 
and the girls in their pretty dresses 
try to remember the good times 
of their glory 
and maybe laugh at the awkward boys 
who wanted them 
way back in the day 
with no thought of the old teachers 
who watched them come and go 
and come and go 
until they finally died 
as the girls will someday die 
and be taken to the last place 
in pretty dresses 
with one or two left to think about nothing 
but home and a late lunch 
a cat to feed
and what they might do tomorrow 
who might be around to do it with 
and maybe something 
about the day after that
 
 
 

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