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Tom Barlow

"Night after night

   I danced on dynamite"

                             Ai, "James Dean"


Another gray sunset and I've outlived David Bowie

and most of those boys who danced on dynamite,

though I hobble around on feet that were never that agile,

in shoes that never sparkled.

When I shop for new threads, though, I still

find myself caught between my Amish ancestors in their

chambray, suspenders, straw hat, and Ziggy Stardust

in his frippery. That's the dilemma in a world

where I can dial up tunes for a disco ball

while resting on a chair built by a distant cousin

who still works by lantern light.

I could have gone one way or the other, I suppose,

shouting out my life or holding the reins of a draft horse.

Either was a mountain onto itself, though, so I chose the valley

in between, and on a night like this the fog settles on me

so quietly I cannot mark the moment when I disappear.

Tom Barlow is an Ohio author of poetry, short stories and novels. His work has appeared in  journals including  PlainSongs, Ekphrastic Review, Voicemail Poetry, Hobart, Tenemos, Redivider, Aji,  The New York Quarterly, The Remington Review, Aurora Review, and many more. See more at

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