G. C. Waldrep

Winner of the George Bogin Memorial Award in 2005

Battery Townsley


* * *
Nothing is off limits, now
                                               everything is permitted.
                The last gates have been removed.

In the east there is war
                and in the west there is war.
The walls bring news of war
                                as they also bring
                                                   news of love:

RASTAFARI.
                APOCALYPSE NOW
                                              NO SMOKING
                NOTHING CHANGES, JUST REARRANGES
                                I DIDN'T DO IT—BUBBY DID.
                LET ME OUT PLEASE.
                                THE ARMY IS SO LOGICAL!
                                UNITY + SERVICE = RECOVERY
                                             BRIAN -n- LAURA
                                                              I LOVE YOU.

In time of war the poets turn to war,
                each in his best manner.
* * *
I look up, as a dictionary
                                             to the living language,
                                  as a cur to its high table
                     I plead for a scrap and am offered the sea.

The hawk and the raven are my wardens,
                                            they review every transaction.
                     The sun on my face is a bronze coin.

                                             My steps make a circuit
                                  as bread makes a circuit.

I am not afraid of the story you ask me to tell.

                     (In any case it is no longer my story.)
* * *
The lanes of the sea weave brightly
                                                                     in the afternoon sun.
                      The buoys toll
                                   depth, proximity.

Down by Point Reyes
                       lie a piece of rock, a chunk of wood
                                   but I will not go there yet.
There remains one garment I have not worn.
There remains my brother,
                       whose wounds I have not tended.

There is an eagle branching like a tree
                                                                    in each of my bodies.
                        There is a grey stone with a white band
                        in my left cheek.

You must fill me now with your story.


                        (Once, I too was a child.
                                                                      —Did you not know?)

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on G. C. Waldrep

We make poetry from any number of vantage points in an age, from vertical or horizontal memory, with a backwards glance or forthright stare. The impetus for singing is most often heartbreak. War is of the most devastating sort, and this age is marked by war compounded by war. We are in a war that is breaking the heart of the country. These poems do not offer solace nor do they go down in rhetoric. What they offer is an authentic human voice that quietly asks the same questions that bring all of us to our knees. The parked batteries leftover from war make a foundation for these soliloquies. Graffiti samples find their way into the mix. G.C. Waldrep elegantly carries us toward grace.

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