Douglas Cole

Pine Row Issue No. 8 Autumn 2023 - Featured Poet

Dupont Circle South


Where’d he get the purple tie?

He bums a cigarette off me

but can’t get it lit with my lighter

while these show-tune kids sidle by,

drama on their cell phones,

and the fountain drools into its pool,

surrounded by naked bodies in the grass,

near-accidents every few minutes

in the chaos lanes, horns and brakes.

Sometimes I say divinity walks in rags.

Sometimes the dream in stone

slides right into my soul.

Sometimes I hear someone say,

where’s the illuminating lightning,

the big annihilating strike?

About the poem:  as shared by the poet

"Dupont Circle South" is from a collection of poems called Drifter. I was playing around with ideas out of Guy Debord's theory of the dérive: a way of exploring a city, of being aware what draws you one way or what stops you in your tracks, getting a sense of the psychogeographies. Timothy Speed Levitch has a similar idea when he talks about The Cruise.

I wrote this poem while in Washington DC on a grant from the Community College Humanities Association to study Cities and Public Spaces in a residency at the Library of Congress. Dupont Circle is a neighborhood in the city where you might have a moment very much like I describe in the poem, especially if you add a shot of dérive. 

Douglas Cole has published six poetry collections and the novel The White Field, winner of the American Fiction Award. His work has appeared in journals such as Beloit Poetry, Fiction International, Valpariaso, The Gallway Review and Two Hawks Quarterly; as well anthologies such as Bully Anthology (Hopewell), Bindweed Anthology, and Work (Unleash Press). He contributes a regular column called “Trading Fours” to the magazine, Jerry Jazz Musician. He has been awarded the Leslie Hunt Memorial prize in poetry. Douglas lives and teaches in Seattle. Find more at 

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