D.B. Appleton

     D. B. Appleton is a native New Yawkuh, now writing and living in Madison. His poetry has snuck into the Wisconsin Poets' Calendar, and has finagled its way into forthcoming issues of Rosebud, Blind Man's Rainbow, and the Rockford Review.  His non-fiction and editorial scribblings have appeared in numerous periodicals, including The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Time magazine.

d.b. appleton
photo by fibitz



Slice through
the soft hair,
the ruddy skin.
Find the flesh;
cleave deeper.
Fluids will drip, pool,
a messy business.
Lay open the corpus,
reveal all.
The furrowed,
convoluted cache
of knowledge
is all that remains
to be acquired.
Extract this with care,
it is the truth
of its very existence;

fresh peaches
are a singular

* * * * *


this is your phone number
these are the digits I dial
in the night

when sleep stands me up
having made other plans
she got a better offer
than spending the night with a hack

who tosses
and turns out bad writing
full of cheap gimmicks
and clever camouflage
that hide the painful truth
of his failings

but when I call

you always answer
the phone
and my questions

and when I hang up

the night is no longer
a cosmic black hole
of insomnia
I can put all my doubts
and  fears on the shelf
of course they're still there
when morning shows up
but now we can grapple on equal terms
in the cold fair light of day

* * * * *


The morning paper unfolds, like a map,
like a blueprint, revealing the details of
the world.  Every day different, every day
the same, like a game with interchangeable
wordsshake them in your coffee cup,
spill them out across the pages, form
headlines from a finite selection:


a simple vocabulary for difficult places
difficult to pronounce, to comprehend,
to care about from this train that
shuttles me daily between safe havens.

At the station, I leave the paper
on the seat, an act of disavowal, as if this will
remove the blood and suffering and fear from
my insular existence.  But my fingers are stained
black from the newsprint . . . or is it red,
hard to tell from this distance.

© D.B. Appleton