The Smell of Burning Bling

By  Tim L. Murphy

The Smell of Burning Bling

     after Ocean, Thirty-Six, by Sue Goyette 

We went to the old blind man who lived in a
juke box at the end of a long corn row.

His cats met us at the door and took our concrete
overcoats, hanging them on needles cast from porridge.

He’d lost his eyes in a poker game but won them back
in a pistol of blind man’s bluff, kept them in a jar

above his stove and watered them every day,
growing tulips from the pupils. He said the tulips

growing in his ears had heard us coming for weeks
and he’d made tea already from the mint he’d gathered

at the crossroads and wreckage of the Towers
where he’d searched for his lost climate change.

Some of us stirred courage into our cups for what felt
like the rise of Western Civilization, starting with those

neophytes who stoked the fires of Helen. We’d been
too busy to harvest any corn but were impressed

by how he fingered the imminent and built matchstick bridges
over the deserts of his longing, how he ironed the pain from

his socks and tied his shoes with the palates of landscapes
he had painted from memory, the colours coded by smell

and the long white hairs of his brush sprouting from cracks in his
asphalt. We wanted to ask him how he managed but our throats

swelled with the smoke of burning bling and aftershave.
I’ll see you to the door, he muttered,

but you’ll have to find your own way home.
I don’t walk with ghosts anymore.

They can’t keep up like they used to.


About the author:

TL Murphy (Tim Murphy) is a carpenter, a poet and a ski bum living in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. His first published poem appeared in 1977 and he has published poetry, fiction and non-fiction in a variety of journals and anthologies since then. One of his musical poems can be heard on WF Podcast #7 and others have been posted on YouTube under Tim L. Murphy. He is an active stage performer and in 2012 was an Artist In Residence at the Banff Centre for Performing Arts. In 2014 he edited and published an anthology of local writers. He currently runs a bi-weekly writing circle. He is married to sculptor Wanda Ellerbeck.

Poetry: Axiom, Touchstone Literary Review, Blue Sky Poetry, Grain, The Antigonish Review, Eckerd Review, Migratory Words Anthology vol 3 &5, WF Podcast #7, Occupy Press;
Fiction: Grain, Migratory Words vol 4;
Non-fiction: Rural Delivery, Axiom, Fine Homebuilding, Migratory Words vol 3.


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Created in 2014, Flashes is a privately owned literary website. We publish short stories, non-fiction, flash fiction and poetry. Our goal is to give talented writers a platform to showcase their creativity, with an emphasis on original voice, innovative style and challenging plots.
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