Monday Jan 22

Walden Raines is a born again poet who moonlights as a software engineer in the self-publishing industry. Raised amongst the sound of washboards, banjos, and milk jugs in Southern Appalachia, his roots are not forgotten. Walden graduated from NC State in 2007 receiving a BS in Computer Engineering, a BS in Electrical Engineering, and a minor in Religious Studies. Recently, he has re-enrolled at NCSU and secretly dreams of pursuing a MFA in Creative Writing. He can be found anywhere that has a lot of books and sometimes finds himself inebriated and lost amongst inner-city shrubbery. Walden lives in Raleigh, NC with partner-in-crime and artist Kaci Torres, fatcat Tippy, and super-turtle Chunx.
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Walden Raines's poetry alarms and disorients the way poetry should. A shade surreal, there's a gritty, street-feel to his imagery and voice, elegantly colloquial. He pays attention to language, lets it bite and sound off as his humor murmurs just beneath the surface. His lines hold tension and an edge-- beauty and unease, simultaneously-- this being the mark of a poet in-the-making.  Dorianne Laux
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If We Got Hitched                                                                                       
                   
                                                                                     
we'd call it a match made in heaven                                                                     
and I’d stitch her in as the one                                                                         
that seemed suited as the best fit.                                                                     
Like she was a pair of slacks, designed                                                                 
by some celestial tailor to be worn out                                                                 
on the town, before everyone, and God.                                                                  
As if She didn’t provide us with garments.                                                               
                                                                                                        
As if He didn’t adorn our vows                                                                          
before we clothed them with words. A veil                                                               
already conceals my beauty;                                                                             
my dress does not need to be white.                                                                      
And why wait for a wedding to strip                                                                     
a name with the garter and toss                                                                          
my history to the ring shoppers?                                                                        
                                                                                                        
That vogue we are not willing to model.                                                                  
There will be no alterations, no splitting                                                              
at the seams. We are not sewn together                                                                   
for eternity though our styles overlap—                                                                 
like jeans and a t-shirt—fading together                                                                
until they go out of fashion.
 
 

Made in Hong Kong                                                                                       
                 
                                                                                      
There is poetry in the concrete
of stained streets in Kowloon.
Beneath the hordes of clamouring feet                                                                   
that dance to the market’s tune.
 
The stench from a block of stores 
cannot cover the pervading smell 
of cooking fat, shit and sweaty whores,                                                                 
the shoppers sprinting to the sale.                                                                     
 
The designer suits and fake Rolexes,                                                                     
the luggage, jewellery and rice,
the fish, pirated DVDs, and sex;
shoppers pushing for the lowest price.                                                                  
 
The crumbling buildings seem to be crying                                                               
as clotheslines drip on those who pass near                                                             
While amid the traffic and the buying
lurks a well-groomed and Western fear.                                                              
 
Next to golden temples all the deranged
Chinese characters neon the night                                                                       
as a monk with a cell phone begs for change,
beneath a massage-parlour’s red blinking light.
 
 

Earth Day
 
 
א
 
Have you ever crushed an ant hill
and watched the infertile workers
and sex-crazed drones struggle
to rebuild what little is left?
 
ד
 
Now wait just one damned minute.
That cockroach scuttling
across your kitchen tiles
has no idea he’s ugly. So before
killing the light, thank him
for sweeping beneath the oven.
 
נ
 
I let a mosquito bite my hand.
I watched her belly grow
pregnant with my blood.
 
י
 
We're piling dirt for our Queen
and dodging muddy soles above
while the Wind calculates
how to blow the Earth
away from us.
 
 

The Perfect Drug
 
 
I don’t know how many times
I have given up on you;
flicked you half used
into the heaping ashtray,
each time swearing to stop.
 
The habitual spark of the lighter
burns like my desire, the smoke
billows and dissipates like my will.
After we embrace the stench
lingers. This is the last time.
 
I have no intention of quitting you.