A Poetry Showcase from Christian Garduno inspired by “Heartworn Highways”

soon to be in Fevers of the Mind Issue 6: The Empath Dies in the End

Jackson Square

I was 1989 + you were Red
how are we ever going to make this work?
You can read my thoughts
but never my handwriting
you say it looks like Chinese chicken scratch
& I don’t suppose I can say you’re wrong
Spending nights in your room
trying to memorize the exact diameter of your heart
taking measurements with my soul
the candle flickers
everytime our eyelashes mesh
you blush like the burgundy in our cups
our kisses play on an endless loop
in my best dreams

Lower Nob Hill

Across a cold open field
reading Adrienne Rich
on angel-less streets
faded hearts chasing 
underwater moons
this is what happens
when nothing happens
it feels good when you
push up the volume
it’s like a warning shot
across my bow
and you’ve gravel in your coffee cup
when you stay up so late that it’s morning

Islais Creek

I remember I was listening to the radio
and it was especially distinctive because I hadn’t
heard that song in a very long time
and I was sort of driving along while my mind
was strolling down Memory Lane
I was making turns and stopping at red lights
without really noticing at all
I was singing to myself out loud a little bit
remembering and then forgetting some words
here and there

There’s something in the melody line
we were melting in the middle eight
approaching the original light source
the chorus breaks down the construct
there’s a ghost-note in there somewhere
I opened my eyes and I was parked in front of your house
these memories have crossed the line
I follow the sound down another
worm hole through the center of my memory
back to the end of the beginning of time

16th Avenue Tiled Steps

Wagon wheels & satellite dishes
Alexa, adjust the weather vane
Telephone poles line the road
like repetitive crucifixes leading the way
in the land where cotton still grows
and nobody knows
the names of the trees anymore
Going 85 in opposite directions
less than six feet apart

A box of pizza in the backseat
box of ashes in the trunk
box of rain on the radio
Mimi’s final road trip

Lazy cows with their four stomachs
grazing in the shade
Jesus Saves- written in dust on the back of an eighteen-wheeler
the hills are rolling
clouds lilted to the side
Trump-Pence yard signs faded by the sun
condemned to stare across the roadside forever

Mission Dolores Park

I know you blank a lot
that’s why I let you play Elaine
and I think you put it on a bit
when you go and kick the rain
you pull back your hair
and it gives me the swirls
still, I know I’m someone else’s
but you mistake me for yours
you make me feel like the sun on your skin
and with the rain that you touch
the words cant fall down fast enough
my sweet, you talk and knock me right over
and I just cant find my mind
I really fall when I think of it all
it’s all right, it’s summertime
and you know what?
I’m feeling so good now
I don’t think I’m anyone’s else anymore
come on and walk me to the corner-store
it’s only sometimes that I’m shy
like when I’m deep down in-between the stars
up in the middle of the sky

Bio: Christian Garduno’s work can be read in over 100 literary magazines. He is the recipient of the 2019 national Willie Morris Award for Southern Poetry, a Finalist in the 2020-2021 Tennessee Williams & New Orleans Writing Contest, and a Finalist in the 2021 Julia Darling Memorial Poetry Prize. He lives and writes along the South Texas coast with his wonderful wife Nahemie and young son Dylan.