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Glen Armstrong

The Continuing Story of Misirlou

The Bedside Book of Open Windows

The Continuing Story of Misirlou

The weather report predicts that Cairo
            will fall

            from the sky
            for a while.

And if I describe you
            as a type “more strange
            than beautiful,”

it’s only that there is so much more
            strange than beautiful
            in my world,

            and you inhabit it all:

            The conger eel escaping
            its wicker basket.

            The glorious life
            cycle of the sphinx.

It’s either you or the sky.
            Cities lit up
            or the satellite photos

            revealing each crime scene
            as a tourist destination.

It’s an ancient song we sing.

It’s one continuous free fall
            though the bells safely ring

            for now from their fire-
            resistant towers.

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The Bedside Book of Open Windows

No one listening.
                        A sleeping world shutting

            block by block,
            square by square

            as if losing power
            on its imaginary grid.

But I heard the lone flutist
            maybe a block away

            conceding fragments of arias,
            pop songs and the ragged

            hoodies of runaways
            to the night,

setting right the mistaken
            notion that everything’s wrong
            with the universe

            if we’re still breathing
            at 4:00 a.m.

I was breathing. I was cold.
            I was too old
            to run away.

I was listening and trying
            to pick out the kinds
            of melody that break

            a song apart.


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Glen Armstrong’s recent work has appeared in Conduit, Digital Americana and Cloudbank. He holds an MFA in English from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst and teaches writing at Oakland University in Rochester, Michigan. He also edits a poetry journal called Cruel Garters.

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