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in places with


in places with

BAD LIGHTING poems and songs



Copyright 2009. All rights reserved. All poems written by Adam Trice. Layout and design by Adam Trice. Mr. DIYDS Publishing. is book, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without permission. e following poems have appeared in various publications: “God is Good and So is People” Review Americana (2008), “Goddamn Jersey Waffle Diners” Welter (2008). All songs written by Adam Trice. All rights reserved. ASCAP 2009. Design: Adam Trice Recording Engineer: Greg Humphreys (Woodbine, MD) Mixing Engineer: Matthew Leffler Schulman, Mobtown Studios Mastering Engineer: Michael Nestor, Beech�elds Record Label “I Stay in Bed” Adam Trice: acoustic guitar, vocals Julia Oat-Judge: cello “Sugar on the Wounds” Adam Trice: acoustic guitar, vocals, electric guitar eron Melchior: bass Julia Oat-Judge: cello Tony Calato: drums “Firetrail” Adam Trice: acoustic guitar, vocals, electric guitar eron Melchior: bass Tony Calato: drums “Screened Porch” Adam Trice: acoustic guitar, vocals, electric guitar eron Melchior: bass Tony Calato: drums “e Current” Adam Trice: acoustic guitar, vocals, electric guitar Julia Oat-Judge: cello Tony Calato: drums

Yes, you who must leave everything that you cannot control. It begins with your family, but soon it comes ‘round to your soul. Well I’ve been where you’re hanging and I think I can see how you’re pinned. When you’re not feeling holy it’s lonliness that says that you’ve sinned. Leonard Cohen, Sisters of Mercy

Contents I Stay in Bed 3 e Sound the World Makes 4 Voice of My Father 5 Dear Southwest Rocker Trash 6 An Occasion 7 Ashtray 8 Pistol 9 Story 10 I Stay in Bed *

Sugar on the Wounds 13 at Old Green Camper 14 To My Teenage Years 16 Consider em All Naked 18 God is Good and So is People 19 Goddamn Jersey Waffle Diners 20 Phone Call From My Brother Alex (1) 21 It’s Dark Before Anything Low 22 Jukebox 23 Rotten Deli Sandwiches 24 Sugar on the Wounds *

Firetrail 27 Patience 28 Headcough 29 I Want a Fishing Vest 30 Love is Not Pillsbury 31 Phone Call From My Brother Alex (2) 32 Father and Sons 33 Southern Yellow Pine 34 Firetrail *

Screened Porch 37 Bar Spit 38 Scissors, Skunks, Paramedics 39 My Face to the Glass 40 Missed Connections 41 Your Sleep Will Be a Long One (How to Pass an Employment Drug Screening) 42 Phone Call From My Brother Alex (3) 43 Screened Porch *

î ˘e Current 47 Cold, Cold Hospital 48 Walking in My Sleep 49 Lookers From Gazebo 50 God 51 Happiness 52 2549 N. Howard St. 53 Shipyard 54 î ˘e Current *

Audio soundtrack included in the back of this book. (*) Indicates song lyrics for accompanying soundtrack

I Stay in Bed

The Sound the World Makes now that a sort of music has started, now that the room is still rolled up under a rug are the voices, you know how to begin with a bell, and so, the warm breath of whispers falling in the dark just wait, some subtle strum and refrain from stepping, with what you will the cello? an old tugboat swaying under the bridge.


Voice of My Father as a child I wanted your power, your stature and command now scatters. and on �re, heartburn of my father the frowning fear hanging over my shadow, and in my voice something of a man.


Dear Southwest Rocker Trash I listened to that cracked scuttlecrash of yours; every damn note of it. I was hammered, a real wreck back by the bar – suck it motherfucker etched on the red bathroom stall; piss, spit, cigarette butts on the soles of my black boots. I watched you search the stage for your plastic lighter. I watched you mess with the noise of that awful ampli�er. I watched your face: wide, somewhat clean, but broken off from the room of folksters who don’t give a shit for your voice.


An Occasion Why Can’t He Be You? – Patsy Cline there’s a bar down the street I say, my phone message dark and cold, we can drink real cheap no other reason, do you need one? to get low with me to wear the night like an old shirt and so on and on I go, spilling everything that gets to the point about love and stains and how far things will go right then, and of all choices for some stranger to select that song, her broken voice through the jukebox.


Ashtray to think that sucking the sin from her cigarette can make your heart explode, gray ash �icked to the smutty glass tray choking like a wardog in dirt, that warm beer taste of kerosene, face pressed with temper and shame like my brother barking for love in the back of the bar, and still you drink and smoke til last call, grinding your teeth down to the black seeds.


Pistol the price of our nation on birth control and fat kids buried at the bottom of the couch. sugar, gasoline, Sally Jessy Raphael, heat index paving over Dorchester. I sit, eating cereal while my grandma keeps her �nger pointed at the damn television.


Story kitchen soup sitting all day cold, nothing more than that.


I Stay in Bed * I stay in bed I stay in bed of all the white light shinin’ on my head I stay in bed I stay in bed I stay in bed of all the black space, been thinkin’ about the dead I stay in bed I want to tell you the story in my head I want to hear how the story ends everyone a story I stay in bed I stay in bed I stay in bed between god and god ain’t nothin’ I stay in bed


Sugar on the Wounds

That Old Green Camper of yours smelled like mouthwash and toilet sanitizer. we’d sleep there just us boys parked in the driveway far enough from the front porch. how you’d �ip the countertop into a bed abracadabra, story of samson, david and goliath from picture books. the fabric bucket seats, torn window screeens, frosted �akes the next morning straight from a styrofoam cup.


To My Teenage Years to dry smiles and whiskers, that picture of Jesus hanging on my bedroom wall kicking evil, to cold leovers, chicken and raggy pants no matter when, my stomach a chipper truck, to long nights when I smelled love burning, to oily skin, stale diners, and the donut shop, “mister, mister?” in the parking lot outside Rite-Aid Liquors, to cigarettes and hangovers un�ltered,


to vertigo and dreams stoned in the woods somewhere, to indifference, pressing like a hot iron all collar-bent in the mirror.


Consider Them All Naked consider shaving, consider coupons, consider stockcars, consider the stench in that can, consider river canyons, consider junkyards, consider patti smith, consider moonpies, consider all others naked, consider the villanelle, consider it medium rare, consider what remains, consider binge drinking, consider boxer shorts, consider persuasion, consider Faulkner, consider the alternatives, consider hitchhiking, consider tuba lessons, consider the bene�ts, consider Red Lobster,


consider masterbation, consider this as metaphor, consider those missing teeth, consider science �cton, consider giving this all up, consider neptune, consider slipping the tongue, consider rhyme-scheme, consider Joey Ramone, consider roach-clips, consider punctuation, consider ending on pigeons.


God is Good and So is People corned beef in cracks on an empty stomach, broken jaw bus fare, dumpsters stocked with kitchen scraps. box crates, and bail bonds, rotten �sh and wheelchairs for salvation under the interstate. her sleeping bag soaking up a puddle.


Goddamn Jersey Waffle Diners goddamn jersey waffle diners goddamn full moonshiners goddamn shit-harvest stripmalls goddamn circus-pie catcalls goddamn Johnny Mercer mud �elds goddamn electric-wire blackbirds goddamn factory workers goddamn shovel-bent farmers goddamn St. Timothy goddamn Cincinnati goddamn salvation army goddamn Sunday church bells goddamn contagious hospitals goddamn chimney-smoke harbors goddamn crude-well believers goddamn �annel-covered drunkards goddamn silver olive daggers goddamn winter prisons goddamn salami truck drivers goddamn nine-to-�vers goddamn businessman suspenders goddamn white ripple roses goddamn chicken-wire jokers goddamn Cleveland-shuffle smokers goddamn iron-wrecked furnaces goddamn breathless winter bushes goddamn sick-dog buses goddamn rotten-crow espresso goddamn spoken-word sparrow goddamn jersey waffle diners.


Phone Call From My Brother Alex (1) yeah just stopped;

I found a wet mop

my fat head that’s right,

(the redblue glow-sign surging)

just this warehouse and me behind back down to my last cigarette.


It’s Dark Before Anything Low I see the difference with a rock in your chest silence, brown and subtle hollow behind words and I understand your �st that smashes straight down on my head, a hammer to a yard sign for all it’s worth you keep it dry and sincere as a brother careful not to step on the devil in one of us.


Jukebox to hang the �oor and that is that the ratty digs formed on free noise, this is just to say you and old newsprint born as an antique stovetop; on second thought, disregard everything soon a�er extensions and back walls drop out.


Rotten Deli Sandwiches my father hides rotten deli sandwiches in places with bad lighting. I dreamt of hitting him with my friend’s used car but lithium gave me a November head cold and the car burned. I watched the orange �ame rise high and roar then came great red engines for the street circus.


Sugar on the Wounds * take your money and your lemon-colored grin got a pocket full of mercy and a wallet full of sin so take your money and the lizard in your soul gonna drive to california sunsway when I roll gotta �recracker in my chest gotta a lovesong that just won’t pass dressed in black like johnny cash so take your money throw some sugar on the wounds light �aking in the shadows sunsway come and get me soon



Patience and I would let you slip so quick your weight down



and to imagine I mean it! I want to go collapse in slowmotion this old dog is wet in a tub of warm bathwater.


Headcough dear brother like a yellow lamp, I wear weakness, humiliation broken in glass, sharp and close; and for us smoking hash in the alley, teeth clenched, pacing in silence and to recall when did I become so bitter?


I Want a Fishing Vest I want a German �ask, I want free scrap metals, I want to trade nitro for auto work, I want a menu chalkboard, I want to bowl with your grandmother, I want a juice blender, I want my neighbor’s moon bounce, I want to trade almostnew baby stuff for anything, I want my lungs, I want to clean your garage, I want a glass of milk, I want to really like Motorhead, I want to bark at a stranger, I want those fucking rollerskates, I want this all in a contract, I want to wiggle, I want ski pants, I want everything you got, I want it fast-twitch, I want something close to 20/20, I want my thoughts prior to knowing exactly what a vagina looked like, I want a sea kayak, I want to repossess cars, I want an over-sized couch, I want my hair back.


Love is Not Pillsbury love is not �berglass spread on burnt toast, the blender, tomato juice and coffee for sky drops, open to interpretation love is not vegan, or breakfast sausage love is not warm in the oven love is nothing over easy the eggs on the edge of paranoia.


Phone Call From My Brother Alex (2) people don’t buy shit; not to mention living with my mother: the goddamn country on �re. and last night I worked my dick off. you got any better ideas let me have em’.


Father and Sons the sky a generator blue chipped like the front porch falling, door sticking then slammed, WD- 40, us goddamn kids messin’ around in motor oil, war with the lawn mower, cherry-�avored drink spill, the dirt and grass skid where else but on the carpet, bull chasing us chickens in the kitchen, and what do you think, we live in a barn?


Southern Yellow Pine of all things I might have learned from my father like southern yellow pine or a wet comb for parting my hair I was never much help, yet available to break everything time without you there is something to pretend while extracting splinters.


Firetrail * oh my father lie down like an old dog gonna kick that dog right down on the side of the road oh my father lie down like an old dog oh my brother not now with that rock and roll gonna keep on running right down the �retrail oh my brother not now with that rock and roll


Screened Porch

Bar Spit the agitation in your voice while sipping warm beer at a coltish pace you assume a dark corner.


Scissors, Skunks, Paramedics superman, malt liquor, thumb tacks, petroleum, heart conditions, scam artists, syrup, armburns, chicken palace, evangelists, even my cat.


My Face to the Glass some hook to another hook or a link to my pants sometimes loose I slouch, it’s that simple seeking a better word for what’s felt seconds aer pressing my face to the glass like wanting to shake the slow day from the sun I think of my choices golden through window glare and the wrinkle on my forehead that you once thought distinguished, and it’s much better leaving without a message, no chance of losing but now, not exactly, I begin to worry, my coffee cold, and it’s time to �y south for winter.


Missed Connections to the hot cashier at club one I know you will read this; I want all or nothing; this morning at starbucks I waited for my past in homer alaska; that bastard lovebug like an old clunky sprout, my heart couldn’t begin to stop happiness; and please make that four pieces of cake; just so you know I’m hoping for your smile, so upsettingly attractive; I take long walks from here to there searching like a nighthawk; for you it just happens. sorry I didn’t look sooner for you, for karma– that little yellow piece of paper.


Your Sleep Will Be a Long One (How to Pass an Employment Drug Screening) wait! here’s some money in market research a world of thirst something like high school biology or �ne wine even beer distribution I want you to imagine ideas and nothing but ideas pharmaceutical representation and anything to do with Amsterdam �nancial advisor, �lm maker, listen! a manager at Pizza Hut janitor, assisted living, what’s the salary again? but if suddenly some day my insomnia, medical transcriptionist; choose any leg to designate.


Phone Call From My Brother Alex (3) if I don’t rant? what? try to reason with this fucktard the history of some world traveler, world-class business unbelievable in America? idiots teaching our youth! a country designed to confuse, got the reaper at my back (that’s what I call my student loan officers).


Screened Porch * face like a screened porch pressed to the sun voice like cardboard pressed to the sun eyes like two blackbirds spread to the sky I know you got problems spread to the sky it’s not you, not me teeth grind the sugar in a bleached-out mouth you say you want mercy from a bleached-out mouth smile like a shovel throw the dirt on the hill I bet you got some words throw the dirt on the hill


The Current

Cold, Cold Hospital and how old to tell when a potato has gone bad; the soî‚? black spots.


Walking in My Sleep it is just pattern choice, moment‌ pattern breath across gaps brilliance working, surely working not always facing one another here is not (what is said before) what is said early light profusion of light.


Lookers From Gazebo I sit n watch honey stains form on the sidewalk

just outside the Alaskan shoe repair while my brother Alex pawns frozen duck paintings.


God you are a �y, hospital meat, some main course under grey cream sauce.


Happiness of your hair there go your teeth to the hospital in december the night clear, and cold coats with a lock on your wrist two �ngers hold the steady pulse in time folding down the endings careless of waiting under bedsheets for morning, another white picture.


2549 N. Howard St. cracks in alleys a shadow st. mark’s cathedral a hellbent hobo taking prayer, a blue bag kissing the sidewalk – you are a zombie lovesong asleep in my ear.


Shipyard I had a dream last night and the sun stayed on my skin schools of �sh I could smell or a place to hook the water like anything you want as dry work with plenty of hedges to prune, and summer birds trimming silk in the water bath too hot for the shipyard to hear ghosts speak and the windows in the bright room.


The Current * and into the shadows without any at all leaf-littered and swept along with the current and I drive my car to the edge of the city sky shine like glass at the edge of the city and into the shadows without any at all leaf-littered and swept along with the current and sometimes unclear keep the wind to my back black morning bird won’t ever �y back and into the shadows without any at all leaf-littered and swept along with the current


Audio Soundtrack

î ˘e text for this book is set in Minion Pro. Titles of poems are set in Arial Rounded MT Bold and title pages and section pages are set in Bodini MT.

About the Author

Adam Trice is a poet, lyricist, and songwriter from Baltimore, Maryland. Much of his poetic voice surfaces in his songwriting for his graveyard country rock persona, Red Sammy, a reference to a minor character in Flannery O’Connor’s short story “A Good Man is Hard to Find” (1955). Trice lives in Baltimore, MD where he actively writes and performs. He received his M.F.A. degree in Creative Writing and Publishing Arts from the University of Baltimore.

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In Places with Bad Lighting  

Through the strum and refrain of his verse, Adam Trice is a adept chronicler of the irrational—revealing the origins beneath the dirt on the...

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