art by jared barbick
RK Wallace is a writer from Scotland who spent many years in Southern California before returning to his native homeland. He runs a poetry/spoken word event in the city of Glasgow which sees some of the best poets Scotland has to offer passing through. He has an MA in Creative Writing, and is working towards a collection of poetry about his time in Southern California. RK Wallace's poetry has been published by The New York Quarterly, Glasgow Review of Books, Qumunicate magazine, Literature in Los Angeles (LILA) and more...
The Marine Layer - 2nd Street, Long Beach
of my window, my cigarette burns slowly,
charming the early morning fog
as it wraps it's arms around the entire area
of down town Long Beach,
making out with the tar laden breath
from my mouth, flirting with the fallen ash.
two surprised shadows
they whisper a nervous laughter,
holding each other more tightly,
more solid than the light heartedness
of the hedonistic molecules in the air.
I pretend I haven't noticed them,
look into the distance, where they will be heading soon,
continue with my own nicotine dreams.
I wonder if they have just met,
they have that awkward posture
of new love;
the fear, the joy, and the water particles
of the marine layer disco dancing around them
like wedding confetti.
I wonder, also, if they are going to feel the same
when the afternoon Southern Californian sun burns away
the last of that which hides what they will have to face
in the coming heat wave of traffic jam nihilism.
the cruel light of day
I stand behind this city
pondering on what responsibility I have
to enlighten them of my own experience,
of divorce, of bitterness, of resentment,
of the careless use of that four letter word
people spray from their mouths
in the hope to create rainbows.
My cynical junk yard tongue remains silent.
I will just finish my cigarette,
throw it down the toilet,
and spare them a hurling doubt.
A Special Lady (San Pedro)
with her ripped black stockings,
she had the stance
of a distressed maiden
whom all the men salivated over with the presumption
she needed rescuing.
She loved punk for as long as she could
remember, but all it could give her in return was adultery.
After all, it began as a one night stand,
then, just like that,
Not a word.
Not a note.
Until years later, when it came crawling back,
a residue of its original
She thought, why should I deal any longer
with its laziness,
How can I trust an ethos that has gone
against it's own commitment to itself!
It's own principles.
which has now become nothing but a fashion garment
suffocated by it own treachery.
Even my friends warned me about it,
said from the beginning it would only drag
but I always rebelled against
middle of the road advice...
because I could never resist
the gravity of punks hook...
and now I am left with a lingering question
did I ever really want to be
in the first place?