Julene Tripp Weaver

Bullet Beat Syncopation

Ant work:
work to do—
hard to work in the grime
left behind:
the test,
this mess.

Music from a distant club: nighttime agitation:
a gunshot rings, he shrugs—it happens. Sour
apple-tart stomach. Bullet-littered air: random
solid disks: bones shatter. He sits in TV byways:
a stark room: a couch: exercise equipment: builds
his body hard: protection: this is Atlanta, USA:
bullet-spray on warm nights: TV diluted scream:
life goes on: flight cancelled, rescheduled.

Dark alley: bullets ricochet wall-to-wall: seek body-
parts like raindrops you walk through umbrella up.
A Kevlar vest would save you: military hospitals have
a reputation to uphold: save lives: forget brain tumors:
jarring reverberation: brain trauma the new surge from
this particular war: your brain may never work again:
forget what it is to live in peace: that is a fact to forget.

My battered friend when you return to Atlanta—
to the borough Brooklyn or the Bronx, or a war-torn
New Orleans or even the homeless side of any city,
street caverns of war-force—you’re gonna need
to be a little blown out of proportion
to walk these streets again.


Julene Tripp Weaver’s third collection of poems is truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017). Garrison Keillor featured one of her poems on The Writer’s Almanac, and in his anthology, Good Poems American Places; recent publications include River & South Review, Riverbabble, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now, and Anti-Heroin Chic. Find more of her work at www.julenetrippweaver.com.

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