The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


David Alpaugh



You go down into the subway after midnight
when there’s nobody on the platform. . . ease
yourself onto the tracks. . . enter the dimly lit
tunnel, under the sleeping city; well aware of
what’ll happen should you touch that 3rd rail.

Trackwalker. Your woods. Your “Acquainted
with the Night.” Your
danger (a tad too young
to fight our last war). Thrilling to feel the rails
shake. See that light up ahead. Will blind luck
have your back—as you LEAP to the opposite





NOTE: This poem is in memory of Boo—a teenager
I knew in the early sixties. None of Boo’s friends
knew that he was a trackwalker. One night, in a
NYC subway tunnel, Boo jumped onto the opposite
track to avoid an oncoming train and was killed by
one coming the opposite way. “Acquainted with
the Night” is Robert Frost’s poem about a more
traditional late night walker.



David Alpaugh



I’m about to send one of those shattering
emails. A mutual friend has
passed away.
But isn’t that a smiley-faced euphemism
for what brain cancer did to Jim? Lucky
him, off on a holiday cruise or excursion.

Passed. Like a ship in the night. Now with
bikinied babes on the Riviera or zip-lining
Kauai! A knockout word for what occurred
spars with my rope-a-dope attempt to hide
the bell-ringing fact: another old friend has





DAVID ALPAUGH's collection Counterpoint won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize from Story Line Press. His “Double-Title Poems” (a form he invented in 2016) have appeared in journals that include California Quarterly, Exit 13, Gargoyle, The Hypertexts, Lighten Up Online, Mudlark, Spillway, X-Peri, and issues 2 & 3 of The American Journal of Poetry. He teaches for the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Concord and Berkeley and has been a finalist for Poet Laureate of California.



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