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James H Duncan

Ode to Madison Avenue at 6:15 pm

the rich hue of lamppost light

daubing the nighttime sky

with neon honey and saffron, a dome

of incandescence revealing cracked sidewalks

and small dandelions reaching

up toward the moon, blooming under

the electric orange of humanity’s humming addiction,

Edison’s curse and gift, our soul in filament dosage

forming the sharp golden point of anticipation

for a night that is, as of yet, still too far away

for neon to make real

yet we wait, pulse with hope, and ebb along

the eastbound sidewalk in step with the moon

now caught in pine horizons and the rich

hue of lamppost light, we wait

we wait and pulse

with hope


dancing in shards of green glass
glinting along the wrinkled rhino
skin of the silent Exxon gas station
somewhere west of Lake George,
I scry your fizzing carbonation in
afternoon sun like some ancient
village enchantress reading bones
and chicken blood, assaying futures
untenable, romances inadvisable, yet
teenage yearning knows no psychic
boundaries and seeks only visions
and indications through the scree of
debris and hormones, broken shards
of glass and Topo-Chico dissipating
into the heat of the afternoon as I
give up, return to the car, the beat-up
old VW Rabbit we have all taken east
on yet another aimless journey of the
heart toward nowhere, and we return
to the highway, assailing and endless,
fever-mad for tomorrow’s illumination

James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and the author of We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, Feral Kingdom, and Vacancy, among other books of poetry and fiction. He currently resides in upstate New York where he works on novels and reviews indie bookshops at his blog, The Bookshop Hunter. For more, visit

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