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January's Featured Writer

January's Featured Writer

Send feedback to William Carpenter.

January's featured writer is William Carpenter. William J. Carpenter was born in Edison, New Jersey (in the middle of the state) and lived there for 22 years before moving to Manhattan, Kansas (in the middle of the country), to attend Kansas State University. There he took his M.A. in English/Creative Writing. He now lives in Lawrence, Kansas, where he is working on his Ph.D. in English/Composition and Rhetoric at the University of Kansas. Current projects include building his comprehensive exam reading list, reading for his comprehensive exam, occassionally sleeping, and reading for his comprehensive exam.

Waiting for the Break

These conversations come in like
high tide waves, subtle
risings in the distance
swelling and tightening
propelled by unseen forces
underneath, gathering
tension and momentum, still
rising and clenching
cresting white before

roaring--and we
are the sand
lifted into the surf,
churned and tossed, riding
moments ahead of
the inevitable
collapsing violence.

To New York

Inside the tunnel, train lights
dim and crackle, the black
man beside me closes his eyes, sings

She don't lie, she don't lie...
and my mother holds
her breath, looks down

at the dark blue purse in her lap.
In Penn Station she says, "Look
straight or down, never in the eyes."

Seventh Avenue darkens under
my feet. I am pulled across
shadows which have no beginning.

Edison High Graduation

It rained, of course,
And so we sat in the gym,
Like cars
In a mall's parking lot.
Bumper to bumper--
Four hundred and twenty
Sudden adults.

That night--grounded
In traffic on Highway 1
Or stalled--drunk--in diners on Route 27
We thought of futures.
We thought of speeches
Given by kids we didn't know--
Speeches about reaching
Paths to happiness
We knew weren't paved or painted,
But floated somewhere
Just above our heads.

We huddled in backseats,
While rain raced down fogged windows,
New tassles swung steady.
We kept our hands high on each others' thighs,
And felt the force of gravity.

Send feedback to William Carpenter.

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