Donnie Cox


shades of ray

--- For Ray Charles

dark shades of ray
swaying to
fatback funk
& blue indigo

comping dirges so slow,
the drummer’s lost
& looking for a tempo --

sweet gospel
heal your soul
throw your crutches
away -– lean on ray

say amen somebody…

river of fingers
leafing through
keys looking for a lost
note – the flatted fifth

of the apocalypse…

i think
i heard it today
just about the time
ray's unbound soul

quit this
bone cold world
on angel wings
of thunder

a world without ray –
who wants it?

i’m gonna paint
my windows black
as foster-grants
& go to bed forever


living totally
inside my window
where i’ve stood
too long -- watching

in the streets below
caught in the undertow
of some unseen tide --

holding onto myself
each day
by keying words
into a cold machine

a wounded architecture
of letters to fuse
splintered thoughts

swiftly disintegrating
bits and pieces
less tangible than the wind

to add one brick
to a temporary wall
that might,

for a time,
hold back the storm
of life’s
relentless, leveling force


it’s cold.
no freedom
in the frozen streets

75 cents
& a chewed-up
copy of “naked lunch”
in his over-coat pocket

taking a break
over a warm metal grate
to subterranean trains

back & forth
on static steel tracks
to nowhere --

blue eyes
cracking like ice
no dreaming
on the sidewalks tonight

a satori-seeking poet
dragging history
around town
in a brown-paper bag

blunts memories
that won’t go away

of benzedrine-fueled
ghosts spitting out
winding lines of

beat-inflected bullshit
with rust-covered voices
howling about chaos
in the cosmos --

the last desolation angel
takes a drink & thinks
about a stroll
to the depot --

sit & raise a toast
to the 3 a.m. greyhound
empty for the coast

american nomads

january wind cuts
like a cold-chisel

through cemetery
rows of watchful
parking meters

tombstone reminders
that time
never sleeps

waiting grave markers
for graying
prodigal sons

stumbling, done-in
down naked
narcotic streets

still unwilling
to swap

of unfillable space
& gratuitous

for a valid world
of comfortable
clichés & pipers

sweet songs
of coming home --

american nomads
feeble streetlights

that mark the way
from failing grace
to dream-empty rooms

D.B. Cox
Watertown, MA, USA
Blues musician/poet/Ex-Marine originally from South Carolina currently
resides in Watertown Massachusetts. Uses a Les Paul Standard, tuned to
open E chord for slide guitar, and prefers a glass slide to a metal one. No
longer takes requests when he plays out.
Donnies first book “Passing For Blue” is being published by Rank Stranger Press. You can contact the publisher by Email at, or by regular mail at Rank Stranger Press, 313 Smith Chapel Rd., Mount Olive, NC 28365, Charles Whitley, editor.