Mark J Mitchell – three poems

Alcatraz Rabbit
For JJ

She had some Alcatraz rabbit in her blood—
Chasing justice or ice or secrets,
she would disappear sometimes.

But, just as the bridge summons fog
and a bay sings to that bridge,
she knows she will return

to where that cool caress
first baptized her, to where beauty
called her beauty by name.

Light seeks light—she seeks brilliant shadows
on this pastel gray city that always
calls her home to me.


After the Chinese Meal

You snap a cookie as a red sun sets
and you forget words you read.
She neglects each word you said.

The paper slips through your fingers. It drops
like a no vote for stopping
your heart. She takes off your ring.


Black and White Afternoon

The chess pieces are put away.
You venture outside. A cool day
opens. Light plays on the sidewalk
like a flute. The afternoon wind
picks up and lost bags swirl like sins
you forgot. Begin to walk

like you did as a child—you saw
each shaft of sun, heard each bird’s caw
from wires while you hauled new toys.
Rook to d-4. Your walk’s broken
by serious play. You note one
move you missed. This joke annoys

you. Now that the game’s lost you see
the false threat. Change course at that tree.
Go home. The c file’s a trap.
No. Stop here. Take this bench. Breathe. Rest.
Watch the world. Don’t stare at her breasts.
Sunlight’s a guest in your lap.


Mark J. Mitchell was born under the sign of Nun of the Above in the Year of the Bewildered. His checkered past has only allowed him to move diagonally along white squares. This has caused a permanent crick in his neck. The filmmaker and documentarian Joan Juster has had his back through all those years and promises to return it one day. Many of his poems contain secret messages and can be found in the anthologies Line Drives (SIU Press, 2002) and Good Poems, American Places (Penguin/Viking, 2012). The key to the code can be had for a nominal fee. His novel, The Magic War (Loose Leaves Publishing) will soon reveal the meaning of his chapbooks, Three Visitors (Negative Capability Press, 2012), Artifacts and Relics (Folded Word Press, 2015) and Lent 1999 (Leaf Garden Press, 2015) without even being asked.
Here’s as close as he has to a website: https://www.facebook.com/MarkJMitchellwriter

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