Two Poems by Rob Carney

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Suggestions for Urban Renewal:

  1. A No Umbrellas ordinance. Instead of poking holes in the rain, people would have to wear hats.
  2. Let’s take away hats while we’re at it, make everyone risk being sexy. A woman with gray-sky eyes, for instance . . . hair darker, the ends of it curling.
  3. One rainy day on Grafton Street, I waited out the weather drinking tea. This was Dublin, so I needed a second pot. Then a third with a girl who’d noticed my accent.
  4. A short walk from there to the National Gallery. We outran the next burst of rain: Kandinsky, Chagall, of course . . . the Renaissance in marble . . . and her face still flushed from the cold and the running . . . a drop she hadn’t yet blinked from her lashes . . .
  5. then she showed me—I didn’t even know he had a brother—a room full of paintings by Jack Yeats.
  6. They were amazing,
  7. like rain at night on a metal roof. Or watching a storm from a wide front porch. Or
  8. maybe just red umbrellas, some color to contrast the overcast.
  9. A retail anchor’s not the answer.
  10. A new Target’s not where people fall in love.



To the Man in the Jaunty Golf Cap, Wow –

I’m glad that wool was saved from coyotes,
glad for winter with its sight lines, glad for trees,

the way they cooperate
by letting go of their leaves.

And I’m glad for the skill of the helicopter pilot,
ski-smooth even in the crosswinds,

glad for rifles and marksmanship: one coyote less, gone
before the gunshot echo. . . .

Even from the air, even over naked snow,
I’d never see so clearly,

see tracks as a map they can’t run away from, tracks
just one step behind,

but it isn’t my job.
It isn’t the clouds’ job either,

topping the mountains like a jaunty hat.
Theirs is to part and let the sunlight accent

the quiet on the green, and you there
lining up a putt.




Rob Carney is the author of three books and three chapbooks of poems, including Weather Report (Somondoco Press, 2006), Story Problems (Somondoco Press, 2011) and Home Appraisals, which is forthcoming from Plan B Press this fall.

Read award-winning poetry by Rob Carney appearing in Issue 34.

At the Mall is the world’s first online journal of place, publishing a rich mix of literature, artwork, case studies, and more since 1997.