width=61 height=87> Patrick Carrington
Featured Poet

Patrick Carrington Patrick Carrington teaches creative writing in New Jersey and is the poetry editor at the art & literary journal Mannequin Envy (www.mannequinenvy.com). His new chapbook, Hard Blessings (Main Street Rag, 2008), will be out in March, 2008. He’s also the author of Rise, Fall and Acceptance (MSR Publishing, 2006), which was runner-up for Main Street Rag’s 2006 Poetry Book Award, and Thirst (Codhill, 2007) (www.codhill.com), winner of Codhill Press’ 2007 Poetry Chapbook contest. His work has appeared in numerous print and online journals. He has poetry forthcoming in The Connecticut Review, The Pinch, Sycamore Review, Tar River Poetry, American Literary Review, Columbia Poetry Review, The Georgetown Review, and elsewhere.

(bio current as of January, 2008)

At 7 A.M. through Unkempt Glass

He named me but doesn’t know 
my name. He kisses me but doesn’t 
recognize the boy who shares 
the angles of his cheeks. A dirty 
window is the eye he uses now. 
His own are distant, locked. Him 
but not him. Not part of his face 
any longer, they hang elsewhere 
like a name on a shingle
dangling wooden in the wind 
with no commotion. Severed from
the riot of morning, its frantic life.
His skin is the broken art of spiders,
mind the crumbled nestwork 
of long gone wrens. Once 
like my own, his folded hands 
pray silently for oil. He has become  
his new eye, fixed and unpolished.
And so much like the world 
that new eye sees 
with its permanent frame. Just
blur and twigs. Vague yet faithful 
to the uncombed day.

Copyright © Patrick Carrington

Originally appeared in Facets Magazine

You Follow the Red

To alleys on Fremont, where whores 
are busy with mouths and needles, 
touching tongues and thumbs 
to the center of their sorrow. To felt 
rooms at the Mint where pros are kids 
from Yale raised on bridge, winking 
like one-eyed jacks through nicotine 
and nightmares. To the sad parquet 
of a penthouse, where night demands 
you square a private chaos, tempts 
you with a champagne glass and 
tangles of hair. You are lost 
in lingers, in the light of small hours, 
low days, in the scars that remain 
past scabs and gutters. This city’s 
cold steel has taken flesh,  
takes you by the hand to watch 
the fresh carving of a darkness 
that knows. To feel the blade again, 
raised high from the roof 
of dawning day, penetrate 
in a surge of blue.

Copyright © Patrick Carrington

Originally appeared in Lullabye Hearse

Union Square

Dawn is a peeping tom, intruding 
blink by blink. Truth’s spy lighting 
its flares, shocking the naked. 
They hide their eyes and cover 
their breasts, reach for clothing.
In alleys and archways, homes
of the homeless, they feel the burn 
of binoculars as its lamps expose 
their barren fields. On church steps, 
they sense the sunbeams steal 
their beauty in a sudden gospel of light. 
Revelation spreads the shining threads 
of its religion, stitching the centers 
and corners of bodegas and basements
with filigrees of embroidered reality.
They squint, the actors who play 
in the theater of deflecting darkness. 
They long for the veil that covers 
day’s face, its pimples and pockmarks. 
They are the unwelcome, and cherish 
the hissing masks of midnight 
that strip them for love and twist 
them with ecstasy. Lost lepers 
who become spotless in the medicine 
of starlight, healed and pure. 
Home again.

Copyright © Patrick Carrington

Originally appeared in Ken*Again


There are times I want you 
but I don’t want you
wanting me 
and times I don't want you                      
but I want you to keep on                            
wanting me 
and times I don’t know what 
I want or don’t want 
or what I want you wanting
or not wanting.

Can’t I be a shadow child, drifting
in the fog’s white gauze
on cloud-scarred nights,
feeding you rain?

Walk to me in darkness,
turn off that floodlight.

Do you really want to know me,
or just press up tight 
to whatever I am? 
Maybe you want me helpless, 
stretched out in surrender, 
your mouth like a lioness 
on my belly. 
Maybe you want to find out 
if torture can be suffered quietly, 
or if history takes it personal,

or maybe you just like being 
a sea storm on legs, 
or maybe you just want to fuck everything
with hair and a heartbeat
on the eastern seaboard,
hit every bar hard, hoisting 
three fingers of brown,
up, highballed and butch.

You’d probably find someone,
sooner or later,
who’d be able to say no
if only you didn’t have 
that fine-ass twinkle  
in your eye 
and briar tattoos that scream
mischief and mayhem 

and talk deeper
than Bacall

and wear those blistering shoes
from hell

and smell so goddamn French

and make every woman
in every room
want to burn you at the stake
and twist your tail just like 
Marilyn Monroe
over and over and over

until every man 
in sniffing distance
wants to turn your legs
into his fuckin’ necklace.

Copyright © Patrick Carrington

Originally appeared in Word Riot

Across Grand Central

She emptied the huge station, 
made a crowded room vacant          
and small with her grace.
People were recast as ghosts, 
dim steps dyed bright as she walked
through a breeze in a halo, creating 
her own light and wind. 
At a distance, some sympathy 
of physics provided a telescope 
to her eyes. Far away, 
their blue-green made me bleed. 
There were things I needed to say 
then. Invitations to extend, offers 
of coffee and wine, a quiet meal 
under small flames. I wanted 
to ask her the time, pretending 
time mattered. I wanted to tell her 
it was sunny outside if she cared 
to see. I wanted to think 
of something she could not know, 
longing to give her a piece 
of the world, something new. I 
wanted to ask if she might let 
a stranger hold her hand 
and walk her, without words, 
to the train. But I stood still, 
another ghost, and watched her 
disappear into a tunnel. Since 
that day and now, 
I look for her in crowds.

Copyright © Patrick Carrington

Originally appeared in 3rd Muse