Pre Car Bomb Noise

Pre Car Bomb Noise

“I see your face, and I let you own me.”
“Come have at us we are strong.”
– Julian Plenti

The Mona Lisa of Car Bombs

Photo Credit: K. Shawn Edgar

A street and a sidewalk.
A bluff of storefronts.
A smattering of food carts.

At Camden subpharm,
looking for ramped-up lollies,
we meet two broken dollies.

Rug-haired ladies
filled with breath,
toe tips to split ends.

We say seductively,
“The cars are double parked.”
They spit back raw ill street noise,
jittery with cable confusion.

Passing trolls, rubber eyeballing us,
glitch-pause in their hurried
march over Camden concrete.

We say humbly,
“Desire is the mixing of red and blue wires
when purple is the color of self destruction.”
Their eyelid blush rises with comprehension,
as bouldery men toting black bags push past.

A dolly’s bared limbs are sinew-held.
Half empty, half filled; they smell of
plastic-wrapped hothouse flowers,
alive out of season. Undead lilies.

We say vexingly,
“You taste just like the river Styx.”

The dollies’ lolly sticks sag now.
We lift d2’s grayed-out wings.
She flew … once upon a time.
We reset d1’s crashed mainframe.
She knew … once upon a time.

The dollies, unfamiliar with ease,
punch our bright pulsing sockets,
nerve twitch, muscle spasm jolt.
All landmarks dissolving into sparkles,
our house lights dim for the show,
and then spike red again.

The darkness spins our dials around
the bend again, refreshing a message
recently lost:

A heart that fuels a body in space,
fuels not the dark matter in between.
The key that triggers a car’s ignition,
fuels not the body that sets the charge.

Our dollies turn away toward subpharm fixes
as Camden street surfers converge on desire
and we bathe our sore sockets in the heavy hum
of pre car bomb noise.


16 thoughts on “Pre Car Bomb Noise

    • Thank you, Kellie. I’m so glad you liked it. As for the image, I shot the photos with my phone, added a lomo-fi filter and un-sharp mask, ticked up the exposure in certain places, and then put them together as one image using Photoshop. Magic!


  1. Like the subject, Shawn. Very much.

    I always appreciate poems with a definite voice that reaches out to the whole of our world. This is where we establish connections. I see the same stuff happening in India, you write about the same stuff happening half a globe away.

    Very nice.


    • Thank you, Mihir. Yours is one of the best comments I’ve received, and I appreciate your words very much. It’s good to make a big world smaller without limiting the potential and without losing the diversity. I usually strive to accomplish both the personal and the universal POV in one poem. A writing professor I had at university said a lot of my stories felt subjective and objective at the same time.


  2. There is something about this that I can’t put my finger on that is like a weight and a balloon drawing me in two different directions. I love the story and the flow of it, it’s definitely got a distinct voice and I don’t think I can say what Mihir said any better than he did, I agree with his comment 100%. This is fantastic.


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