Two Poems by Timothy Tarkelly


A cultured slug of organ music set to a 60s gambol

of mania and sprinting legs on hardwood stair cases.

Ghosts in the window and churning in the water below the bridge where she made that leap to adulthood.

Kids can be so careless, treating life like a carousel, moving with machinery, refusing to put their legs down.

They’ll spin all right,

wrapped in phantom limbs and under the most gorgeous, three-ring tent. They’ll dance there forever.

* Inspired by the 1962 film, Carnival of Souls by Herk Harvey.



Blue and numb like frostbite,

but from the inside out.

Playing chopsticks on borrowed piano,

though no one listens.

Swatting bugs and sapping shut,

they drop the act and,

just as fast,

grow tired.

In the dark,

snapping hooks and tearing

skin around the nails on denim,

but it’s still not you.

Ideas fizzle

like ginger ale gone flat with whiskey:


but still not the same.

Pincer hearts, I pray:

be still and climb in bed.

Joints and muscle

heal at night.

Voltage, dampened by doing.

Signal, prices grow, still rising.

Sirens, getting louder,

no one yielding.

Bridges breaking and touching,

so rewired, numb and burning.

The smell is so spicy, burning,

but at least the cold is gone.


Timothy Tarkelly's poetry has been featured by Cauldron Anthology, Haunted Waters Press, Cadaverous Magazine, GNU, Paragon Journal, and more. He was recently named an honourable mention for the Golden Fedora Poetry Prize by Noir Nation Magazine. When he is not writing, he works for a non-profit that serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence.

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