from The Sugar House

Charlie Malone



the newly agreed upon Reaganite future is shiny

                                                                and not this

the newly agreed upon future of the family is not



grass will not be mowed regularly

the roof of the garage will sway, buckle, & bury


forget the future tense

    right now it’s the 80s


           the children are exceptional

           the sweet corn is delicious

           each new cul-de-sac is a nod

           to the first big red O in Ohio






beyond this—Cleveland

                                     its methane flame burning in the flats


                       El Greco’s Christ on The Cross

hangs outside

constant construction cannot keep pace

             with growth and suffering

a big peaceful cement pond reflects tarnished copper

                                the Methodist’s oil-can church



& escalators carry


                                  business & homeless men & women up

                                              into the marble belly of a tower


& all the streets and towers light up for show and safety

                                                                    in sounding night

                                                          city is a chorus of sirens


& glass doors hold back stale humid air

                          worse when wind blows off the shallow lake

                                                             where old shipwrecks

                                 make drunk stories and craft beer labels


& seagulls chase garbage trucks

                                                                         warm currents

                                                        of exhaust lift their wings




Charlie Malone lives, writes, and teaches in Fort Collins, Colorado where he edits a quarterly, ultra-local newszine, Matterhorn, and curates the poetry for Matter Journal. Both publications belong to Wolverine Farm Publishing. Charlie went to school for many years at Kent State and Colorado State; he liked it just fine. His work has appeared in Sugar House Review, Laurel Review, Phoebe, Harpur Palate, Boneshaker: A Bicycling Almanac, and Permafrost.