February 2010

William Stratton


This marks an author's first online publication William Stratton lives and writes in Ithaca, New York. This is his first online publication.

"Ain't No Direction but One I Want to Go In,
    and Can't Never Get There"

On Fridays Willie would ramble in and find his favorite stool
to trade me half a paycheck 3 dollars at a time
and the regulars would crowd around to humor an old story
passed along the bar through tiny puddles, in hopes to catch
a round on the factory, before things got ugly
and some college kid walked in to the nest of local hornets
who stung worse than they buzzed.

But I never minded, even when the cops came
to take down my name and where I lived
in case the twenty-somethings pressed charges
which they never did—something about old men
made them heal quicker or forget faster or both—
I just kept pouring out Budweisers and Jamesons
hoping to take in another story of boxing or boozing or both—
until Willie's boxcar hands crashed into fists and curled onto faces or ribs,
the hardness of it all reminded me of rusty chain link fences
and broken green coke bottles on lots where fires have burned
but now weeds grow tall as a man, and hardier, and more alive.



William Stratton: Poetry
Copyright ©2010 The Cortland Review Issue 46The Cortland Review