Derek C. Brown ~ No Walls, No Go

After the soft coals of sleep
the scratching at my bedroom door returns
and the noise
clings to the head like pools of blackstrap molasses,
raff-raff-straff- through my swampy pillows.

I used to see boars out my window.
Now the old, familiar Wolf-Fox of Sorrow,
Brimstone sifting through his smoking teeth,
blood in paws, low crawl in the grass,
he has come.

To crawl back inside me and weave himself in.
To chew out my insides and sew himself in.
The terrible sewing.

I woke up yesterday morning and
wanted to blow my brains out,
with a shotgun.
Two shells to blow my brains on the most beautiful wall—
the cleanest wall — a pool of milk waiting at the base—
the starkest white: eggshell or matte.

Spinning while exploding.
The mad spin. Walls catching me. Pink pink pink.
This so you can see what the Wolf-Fox has done
to me, has become to me.

I am fine with being the last of my name.

When I awake in our bed, hungry for these exit songs,
there is dust splitting the light.
There is that gaudy sky, all roofs on the ground,
and there are no walls for miles.

There is only rubble, settling dust, and a breeze.

You are standing there above me
with sledgehammer…exhausted.

Exhausted. Your shirt, a creek of sweat.
Your chest shining like a Colt Peacemaker.

Your voice is cashmere and rescue.

You say,
“My dear, true love is labor.
I will not learn how to love the dead.
No walls, no go.

There is nowhere to hang a calendar.
There is nowhere for clocks.

My love is for the living.”


Derek C. Brown is a former paratrooper for the 82nd Airborne, gondolier, magician, and fired weatherman; he now travels the world and performs his written work. From Long Beach, CA, he is dedicated to bringing American poetry into rock and roll status. As one of the most original and well-traveled writer/performers in the country, he has gained a cult following for his poetry performances all over the U.S. and Europe. A poetic terrorism group has taken to tagging his metaphors across the globe. called his last collection, Scandalabra, one of the best books of 2009. To date, Brown has performed as a writer at over 1500 venues and universities internationally including The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, La Sorbonne in Paris, CBGB’s in NYC, All Tomorrows parties with the Flaming Lips and a small Jewish youth group in Glendale. You can read more from him at and buy his books at

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