Leading Lines

By: Liam Knox

sometimes, words write themselves

when the mind zeros in at odd tired hours,

temporal, transient moments of clarity

before it’s back to basics, back to baseness,

back to the tea-kettle tang of life.



when the reverie fades

to scattered pieces of a bigger picture,

scour them!

pin them to oblivion like a cork board

strings and all, squinting, head tilting

to find the best angle, get it untangled

till only the realest things fit in frame


like throngs of workers with upraised fists


like feather-splinters in downy pillows


like steam rising from your coffee in frosty fall sunlight


like latticed light streaming through to the wall

as dusk forms mercurial colloids of cloud and sky

casting Coca Cola daydreams over tufted rooftops

and tobacco-dusted pages of scribbled poetry

while the humming of the world, a sad summer song

shimmering lightly,

calls out your name.


sometimes words come charlie parker

unevenly weighted like a mad, swinging compass,

pulled top-heavy and subconscious to

the poem’s home, where it’s meant to be—


that spot on the back you can’t quite reach,

that light in the distance you can’t quite see.