Valley of Empty Pockets
56 pages, $13 (+ shipping)
Projected Release Date: March 2020
An Advance Sale Discount price of $7.50 (+ shipping) is available HERE prior to press time. This price is not available anywhere else or by check. The check price is $11.25/book and should be sent to: Main Street Rag, PO BOX 690100, Charlotte, NC 28227-7001.
PLEASE NOTE: Ordering in advance of the release date entitles the buyer to a discount. It does not mean the book will ship before the date posted above and the price only applies to copies ordered through the Main Street Rag Online Bookstore.
About The Author
Eric Helms holds degrees from Furman University and Columbia University’s School of the Arts. Having spent the past decade in the city of New York, he currently resides in Asheville, NC. Some of his work can be found in the Asheville Poetry Review, key_hole, Prelude, Diagram, MadHat Lit, Souvenir, American Athenaeum, Rhino, 4×4 and Blunderbuss.
all starts with some scree falling into a narrow loch,
not far from where this dark vague drinks a black drop
from a test-tube then dares to drop off the foot
of this mountain, tumbling through some mistake
heʼs made before–some grass & thorns, making himself
a fable then almost torn enough to thirst for
a different kind of truth. As if such could release me
from all trouble & ache. Against all odds,
I wake on the ground Iʼve broken for and bite in-
to this bitter loaf, which Iʼve bitten before.
It’s no mistake that it tastes like a flap of loose skin
This winter. The dark smudge increased its dent
beneath the radiatorʼs heat and whistle.
Our mounted stag moaned above the steam
and, like our conifer, his points seemed to sag.
From the window, not one morning where the snow globe outside
was not an eyesore. Four a.m., shovels scrape, clearing a frail path
for blotted epilogues, loaded soliloquies, those that parade at this hour,
from dive bars and taverns closing doors. “Clouds of zip-locked meat, azure!—”
someone discovers as coffee house lamps begin their drone.
the day detects itself—a hair-
line crack spreads yolk across the skyʼs cold shell.
ENTERING HIS FATHER’S HOUSE
As a washed-out habitué, wearing a fast-food crown
and, carte blanche, garland of toilet paper,
might scratch himself from a billowy ditch–
still devoted to the orange stain of his monkʼs habit,
I might have sneezed myself through
a car wash’s spinning brushes and plates—
not to come clean but steel myself
for how I meant to waltz through
a cosmonautʼs remaining strobe of light.
Through a high-gain antenna, channeling
the éclat of Michael Jacksonʼs Thriller
before bowling over a last row of backseat Baptists
and a few gutter pups. Their anonymous chorus—
the refrain which, even now, keeps coming back.