Green Hills Literary Lantern






Three sunlit back alleyways

form an angled intersection

fractured by two parked cars,

overhanging fire escapes,

a dented garbage dumpster,

overgrown weeds, spinning

window fans, air conditioners

thrumming on and off, a mangled

folding chair, a cracked flowerpot,

a slow-weaving cat—all these

and more all threatened

by a wooden water tower

too rotund for its slender stilts.


This jumble of detritus

in stark, wayward contrast

to the buildings’ proper stone fronts

and marble lobbies serious people

strut through on serious business

while never imagining

that such old, sober buildings

still struggle with the unmanageable, still

stash evidence of gritty needs, still

manufacture streams of trash

cheap, gaudy, and snarled

as dreams.





Mark Belair’s poems have appeared in numerous journals, including Alabama Literary Review, Atlanta Review, The Cincinnati Review, Harvard Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Poetry East and The South Carolina Review. His latest collection is Watching Ourselves (Unsolicited Press, 2017). Previous collections include Breathing Room (Aldrich Press, 2015); Night Watch (Finishing Line Press, 2013); While We’re Waiting (Aldrich Press, 2013); and Walk With Me (Parallel Press of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, 2012). He has been nominated for a Pushcart Prize multiple times. Please visit