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Fickle Muses an online journal of myth and legend

“Route 66 Gas Station” by Derek McCrea

“Route 66” by Derek McCrea

“Route 66 Gas Station” and “Route 66” by Derek McCrea

Visit Derek McCrea’s Web site: http://www.derekmccrea.50megs.com





Four poems by Ray Hinman

Apollo Runs a Theater in Harlem
Nike Makes Running Shoes

Even the moon looks pockmarked.
Subduing my human, knowing where to look.
I can see it side-lit. a chunk
            of old rock.
I can see it fall through orbit.
over barren parking lots
where the oblong, blockhouse offices
reflect a wasted white, or sickly

Everthing in this city glows or shines,
or burns out. I never knew nature had
so many ugly hues.  It tinges the contours
of light, so each sight reflects the struggle
to keep the moon the moon,
the farms free of city, to keep the city
from stealing light.

Everything we make is ugly and radiant,
as my cigarette pack says: “art is what
you blend.”


Whitman’s Ghost Takes a Tour of the City

The goddess sits in the axhandle park:
she would give more grain, but corn won’t grow
in our streets.
The trees can lift their arms skyward,
but their hands and hair sprout flames.
Indidolons time,
when the old shade goes loafing (though evening
can’t come any closer). Could he manage disembodiment
before now, the fire of the flower would still
be there by chance.

But you, knowing the richer reds
and deeper blues appear briefly at dusk
then withdraw into their own flame...
He goes out at evening, shirt long, baggy as a coat,
his white beard flows from the sack-like face,
the outstretched hat-brim;
he has made himself bewildered: Where are the poets
chanting to the multitude? The headlong, vulgar, robust
freedoms of the crowd? Is there only you?
Bleating out this quick-flaring image? You chant
the gawk-shuffle, art-patter, and wonder how the plant

ever let you in. The inferno of the city blazes
around us, we detail its hidden lights.



Wind blows grain across the ground.
the hills make the sun a legend, kingdoms were seen Falling From up there. some kingdoms rose.
the sun’s glare, took them into the land...
Bitter grain. brewed to distraction. snake coiled in the shaman’s leaF. the sun drew evening into its selF and made it part of the land,
only the mother could raise her hand to it all and proclaim a course running apart From light.
We walked this Far in silence. We Felt her eyes glaring behind meshes of leaF. her breasts oFFered. hair woven out of Flax. Nine spawns clawed From the caves of this region. hundreds more build on Fields that absorbed their work; our harvest slices to debris the sun chose not to cancel, all discarded, no longer part of its region: a crude child’s rattle, a stone-made. screw top jar.


The Shaman Considers His Craft

Did say footprints?
Did say each puddle reflects a world? I use to see distinction in things other people instinctively ignore.
The bird in the bush could sing his door wide, and with windows
there to open
the wealth of those deeper places could catch the thrush’s warble and glitter white fire.
But then I got to naming things, and relating one thing to another.
The tracks for instance, no longer just a trail to follow, an extension or some place where the mystery of places might echo a brittle birth.
I had to know that beauty—decode it,
like a song. The thrush’s song, the broken tracks, the little brown splotch that is the bird upon
its branch, it had to be a destiny, a metaphysic or sympathy breaking down haunted tomes ...
levels of Justice and fate.

I had to know what made the haunted real,
to know how these doors open, one into another so that bird sails freely
and his fire pierces through the bush, the puddles that are slick as sliding glass,
and know much more than being carried by a song (his song from his landscape) into a scape not mine and not his.
And at that point, that beauty that became so brittle as I went downward
(through the landscape his beauty built into the scape not mine and not his)
I missed the whole haunted meaning of fire and magic both.
And I was left there, as if I stood before a maze of bushes all grown with doors.


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Ray Hinman’s poetry collection, “Our Cities Vanish,” where these poems were previously published, is available on Amazon.com.