Hazy Alley Incident

By Roddy Lumsden b. 1966 Roddy Lumsden

Eugene, OR

Girl shouting Oliver! at the top of the cut-through
by Jacob’s Gallery, you have now entered
the slenderest of histories, the skin-bound book
I store between my temples; in that mean
and moonless city, you must hang fraught
in your too-long coat, not a winner, but placed,
and in this cutty version of forever, forever
calling on your unseen beau, one flake in
a limbic blizzard, one spark in the synaptic blaze.
And now the rain turns, light but going steady
on the Willamette. Along the bank, I lift my pace
from devil-may-have-me to heading-somewhere
and still your mouth in the haze calling is
a ruby carbuncle woken by a miner’s head-beam,
the reddest berry in the hedgerow, which all
but the bird in the fable know not to pluck.

Source: Poetry (May 2010).

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2010 issue of Poetry magazine

May 2010
 Roddy  Lumsden

Biography

Roddy Lumsden was born in St. Andrews, Scotland; he describes his upbringing as small-town and working-class. His earliest exposure to literature came from his mother and older brother, who would read aloud to him when he was a child. Later, when he attended school, his writing was influenced by the works of W.S. Graham, Philip Larkin, Thom Gunn, T.S. Eliot, and Sylvia Plath, and by song lyrics.

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT Relationships, Men & Women, Social Commentaries, Cities & Urban Life

POET’S REGION Scotland

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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Originally appeared in Poetry magazine.

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