Harley Elliott





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Harley Elliott is a writer and visual artist in Salina, Kansas. 

His books of poetry include Animals That Stand In Dreams and Darkness at Each Elbow, both available from Hanging Loose Press, Brooklyn, New York, and The Monkey of Mulberry Pass, Woodley Press, Topeka, Kansas. 

In the spring of 2006, Woodley Press will publish his non-fiction book Loading the Stone.

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What To Do Around Here


take in a full pink

moonrise over prairie roads

where the strong south wind

smells pale and early blooming


if the moon makes you

walk up the ditch and

put your ear against

a telephone pole

you had better do it


a seven thousand fathom wind

drones in that old wood

deeper than darkening blue

twilight seeping west overhead


say hello to the ghost of birth

and the earth keyed tight

to this ripe blush of spring


just you the moon

and winds voice in the

spine of a tree

you will think something

seems wise about the moment

and you will know it isnít you


Walking Like Always


That night I drained out

of one world and walked in another

mugged by high noon heat


beside my friend walking like always

a plowed field where arrowheads

made long ago sometimes appear.


When I veer off to rest in

the shade of the old green pickup

he keeps walking but

wait a minute neither of us


owns a green truck and

how come his hair is now

a brilliant silver white.

Now I remember he died

two months and ten days ago.


I will wave him over

next time he wanders close

to ask how we can be here

and is the hot blue sky

as real for him as for me


but he does not wander close

gives only a glimpse

of a one-sided smile

from clear across the field

he can feel me getting it


watching from the shade

of reunion and farewell

while he continues

walking like always.


Appeared in HANGING LOOSE #78, 2001

My Brothers Theory


As a child he carefully

reduced a clock to its parts

and in the beauty of

its entrails read the future.


Human beings were just

a necessary step in the evolution

of intelligent machines


requiring first the separation

of consciousness from

the moment being lived.

Click bzzzz what trained

my understanding of time


plugged me in to cellular

video virtual scramble?

So far so good

for the well-oiled spark.


My brother thinks

it will be a while yet

before the perfect servant

gains the keys to the house


and maybe itís just an illusion

that we continue doing our

best to be anywhere

but where we are.


Still the long shot calls.

Beneath it all in some

deep muscle of memory

the grass rolls on

the great drum beats.




Why You Should Read This Poem


Because it contains

no advice.


Because youíre here now

somehow finding it

and completion is

its own reward.


Because it requires no

proof of purchase

ownership or identity.


Because in the

victory of excess

someone must travel

small and light.


Because it doesnít ask

you to save the world

but believes you will.





All poetry on this page
© b
y Harley Elliott, 2006 


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