December 24-30, 2007: Amber Decker and Richard Dinges, Jr.

week of December 24-30, 2007

Amber Decker and Richard Dinges, Jr

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Amber Decker

Bio (auto)

Amber Decker resides in Hedgesville, West Virginia, where she masquerades as a serious college student and spends her spare time riding things that moo Her first collection of poetry, Sweet Relish (Grundle Ink) was published in 2002 when she was nineteen.

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Amber Decker and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.


was not so big, as I’d imagined it I used to think of cities and angels, next to each other
in the same sentences I used to dream about
Los Angeles a lot, but I’ve never been there City people walk as though enveloped in fog,
a long black dreaming coat It makes them feel strong,
like their bones are made of metal and they can slip
into any shadow, disappear like smoke Getting off the plane was nearly erotic,
all that skin meeting skin in the baggage claim We all stepped off that plane together, that shiny silver bird We all walked into that other world, into a light
flush with love, new beginnings Everyone needs to forget who they are now and then There is a tunnel, there is light on the other side There are angels calling you down And the city, rising up and made of gold,
an animal that welcomes its fur being stroked
and bites only out of love If love is all we have in a lifetime, I’m reaching and
praying I will not dissolve with the rain City rain is not holy or clean,
especially not in 100 degree Texas heat A city full of love and strangers who walk the streets
with open mouths hoping to catch
the kisses that go astray, and they do you know,
because every street looks the same When night falls, there are only neon stars
to wish upon, but there are angels everywhere
and little clouds of shimmering light All that is left to do
is move forward.

Sunsets Were Made So
Cowboys Could Disappear

The sky was red and dark as a bruise over I-70
heading straight out of Denver The city spirits crowded my rear view mirror.

He asked me so many times
why I tried to leave this world,

but I didn’t / couldn’t answer
at that particular time.

Instead I said,
“I’m still here “
(God didn’t want me either )

So I left behind the city
where he sleeps at night
and headed west.

There are only so many miles
a girl can put between herself
and the place she belongs.

There is only so much beer,
so much sad music,
so much tread on a tire,

and damn

it’s a long lonely road
back to the wild mountains
of West Virginia.

I thought I left the mess he made of me
at some bar back in Denver,

but I felt it rise up again like a river
as I drove through the rain in Ohio
and wept.

Richard Dinges, Jr

Bio (auto)

I have an MA in literary studies from University of Iowa and I manage business systems at an insurance company Yalobusha Review, Flint Hills Review, Illya’s Honey, Pennsylvania English, and Talking River have most recently accepted my poems for their publications

The following work is Copyright © 2007, and owned by Richard Dinges, Jr and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

Cell Phone

Words chime digital
clarity, sharp steel tones
from plastic box held
against my ear, connected
now to my daughter
by waves thinner than air,
box held tight to keep
her close while she speaks
of going elsewhere
yet farther, her voice
shrunk back to a cell,
that embryo we carried
so close years ago,
now small enough
to hold against my face
then slip silently
into my pocket.


Clothing patterns printed
on tissue paper too thin
and fine to survive,
survive in yellowed envelopes
stuffed into a cardboard box
and held up to auction Those strong fine fingers
neatly folded each sheet,
now yellowed and absent,
stilled in a quiet distance,
while auction chant
strives to find a bid
among this crowd of buyers, where no one
makes clothing anymore.

Mechanic’s Hands

Skin on old mechanics hands
thins and dries into wax paper, grease long since gone from cracks
eased into wrinkles Strength
fades while he clenches fists, unable to replace parts
in his own body, organs
no more than pumps
and gears he extracted,
examined, cleaned or replaced He put aging machines
back on long narrow highways
for another year He could
squeeze out another thousand
miles A car’s life ended
when a driver parked it
in a field, left keys in ignition,
and walked away Each day
he looks at his hands, squeezes
another fist and watches
another car idle past his window,
listening to gears grind, no longer
able to repair the inevitable,
watching for that last tow truck
to arrive and park out front.

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