365 Degrees

Tom Johnson
Poetry Editor


Spanish Leather

His last appearance is planned.
The roadies stumble among the cables
with all the promises of big bucks.

His personal lights are adjusted,
the single blue spot, the lasers for relevance,
and then the oak stage, scrubbed like the baby's floor.

His personal food court is established.
There is white asparagus, laid in parallel rows,
with the ice freshened through the afternoon of arrival.

His ancient instruments are removed,
one by one, from their boxes,
marred by travel and the frequent handling.

His concert clothes are pressed,
then displayed early in a small window
near the front of the bus. The groupies gather.

His valet checks the creases with a ruler.
There is no logic to his scruples, only dead habit
of years on the road, the costume boots wrinkleless.

His hour of performance is noted.
A hawker passes the bus, "His Last Tee Shirt.
His last tee shirt." The vigilance,

and his years on the charts. The halls spread
before his Spanish boots like a carpet of adulation.
He muses, "the Big Dog approaches the Final Gig."

For the Morning

This urge to disappear into settling.
Fix the morning coffee, pull up the sheet,
fluff the pillow, sweep, sweep the kitchen
as if I'm the broom.

This urge to disappear into the coffee.
I stir the morning like I'm the cream
and watch the rising darkness disappear.
I take a sip and move into my writing room.

This urge to disappear into this poem.
Fingers tap as if I'm the keys.


If you see the river
at its thickest you see land
whittled by the knife of every inch
of rain. Mud is the last testament
to sediment, and sediment, every
field's red tongue. Fields preach
when the rain falls, run clean
down every drain. Rain tilts continents
builds shelves in the basement
of oceans, like the preacher
has a secret hobby beneath the steps.

Love Poem

Like the old tennis star found dead
in the stone cottage, winter sprawls
at summer's baseline, stiff as a poker.

The windy lawn! The grass seed nodding
like lineman too long at the match!

The seasons rally. The days volley:
Warm evenings followed by cool nights.
Love sets early and the match is over.

Tennis shorts. The fuzz worn from
old balls. Water grown cold in the can.

Oh, let us be true to one another.
Let us string this season with gut,
play each day like a shot clearly in.

John Lane's work has previously appeared in POINT, but never on the 365 Degrees page. He teaches literature, creative writing and film at Wofford College, has published widely, and is publisher/editor of the Holocene Press. His poetry is appearing, or will soon appear, in The Virginia Quarterly Review, Hampden-Sydney Poetry Review and Puerto Del Sol.

© Copyright by POINT, 1997
Last modified 2/20/97