The Long Narrow Road to Felix Pie’s Apartment


(Editor’s note: Felix Pie is a professional baseball player currently employed by the Hanwha Eagles of the Korea Baseball Organization. He is walking home from the stadium after a game.)


The phantoms surge past and across and through the streets.
The moon hides in shame behind a lachrymose black veil
An oily candle, burnt too short, lapping cheap tallow.
Headlights roar and shudder, blood-drunk wet lions
Thrashing like dying fireflies in the puddles of soju underfoot.
The summer wind licks like a consumptive’s warm sigh.

This is a place where the flying birds do not reach.
Bamboo and grasses grew wild where they tread,
Long since crushed into gray powder lining the roads
Their colors boiled, wrought into neon, pumped into the signs
Calling the chirping moths, their only direction toward.
This world bears no names, offers no constellations.

Hidden in shadow, scattered along the littered sidewalks
The old men cry out hoarse laughter from the pojangmachas
Huddled motionless under tent flaps, gripping small green bottles,
Scraping their scarred beards with the backs of their hands
The crust of crimson sauce outlining lopsided grins.
When the hour comes they will sink into the asphalt.

The way is difficult to find, among all the dead ends.
Life pours into the drains in the abyssal alleyways behind every corner.
The serpents and the courtiers and the chrysanthemums have long since vanished.
There are no dew-teared blossoms to mourn the pilgrimage of the exile.
Felix Pie squints at the symbols, hunting for some willowisp
To illuminate the path and lure him home.

Patrick Dubuque is a wastrel and a general layabout. Many of the sites he has written for are now dead. Follow him on Twitter @euqubud.

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John Paschal
9 years ago