Poetry by Luke Bauerlein | (Noteworthy Selection, 2008)

Night Walking

Some things escape me.

That woman’s
clenched fist,
the seven stitches
just below my right
eyebrow, a good,
clean haircut.

Most nights
the whole world
escapes me,
and my life
is silent,
the sound of parked
cars at four-thirty
in the morning.

The street goes
through its second
death in the last
hours before sunrise,

the starry-eyed drunks,
at long last,
having danced
or pissed
or cried
themselves home.

Baby carriages
are left out
on all the town
porches. All
of the children
are asleep.

Quiet. Quiet.

Speak the word
“hush” and there
is music—
there is too
much music.

You could listen
your entire life,
you could go
blind, or set
yourself away
in a place that looks

nothing like these streets,
and still
at your death
there will be singing—

still the best
you can do
is nothing.

This is not
living. This is
not it. This is
not close to it. <>

Have you ever
heard the sound
of car keys
falling against
the pavement
at four-thirty
in the morning?

It is the sound of bells.

There is nothing
else clearer
in the world.

Luke Bauerlein tutors English full time at West Chester University. A recent graduate of West Chester, Luke has had poems published in the Mid-America Poetry Review and was a major contributor to An Evening in Winter, a collaborative spoken word poetry album due to be released this October. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/aneveninginwinter. Luke feels guilty about a great many things in this life, and if anyone feels he has misrepresented himself here in any way, he would like to apologize in advance.