The last chance motel & virus box by DB Cox

last chance motel

a run-down motel
clings to the shoulders
of a narrow highway
a blinking neon sign
shoots holes through the middle
of a mississippi night—

enfolded in the semi-darkness
of a lamp-lit room
an old man from an old war
leans over a table
etching straight-razor
phrases into the pages
of a motel notepad
recounting hazy days
that lay behind him
like a thousand miles of bad road—

years past the possibility
of finding something
to count on—

like the orbit of the earth
around the sun

like moon-stirred oceans
guided by gravity’s hands

like a lucky star to steer
his feet past lonely streets

that lead to places
like this “last chance” motel

where he sits
with pen in hand
a pistol on the table
& a bible in every room

virus box

—eastward & westward storms are breaking… great, ugly whirlwinds of hatred, blood & crueltyW.E.B Dubois

again the night
& it is too quiet
here in this room
too small
to contain my loneliness
mind gray & vacant
searching the solitude
for clues
that might unlock
this surreal
fucking virus box
slow movement
through a one-man play
nothing left to say
that doesn’t sound
like nonsense
quiet anguish
as our imaginary
Rushmore crumbles
& falls away
how long has this shadow
been descending


DB Cox is a blues musician/writer from South Carolina. His poems and short stories have been published extensively in the small press, in the US and abroad. He has published five books of poetry: Passing For Blue, Lowdown, Ordinary Sorrows, Nightwatch, and Empty Frames. Unaccustomed Mercy is his first collection of short stories.

6 Replies to “The last chance motel & virus box by DB Cox”

  1. DB!! Just dropping in to leave a note on your post as well my friend. Your words cut right to the marrow, to the sweet center where the old river begins and the truth just keeps on rolling along. Both pieces vibrate on their mark and hum.

    Indeed, “how long has this shadow / been descending”.

    Rock on brother, rock on…

    • I’m remembering a time when we had a big party for Charles Whitley at Tim Peeler’s place up around Hickory,NC… and we were putting things in that bomb you were filling up… back when the good times were rolling… and the beer was flowing.

      • Yeah man, that was a damn good time. Hard to believe that is now a decade in the rear view. Charlie rode shotgun in the van with me for about a week… me, Charlie and the Poetry Bomb. Digging the Delta Blues on the jukebox at the Waffle House in Meridian, Charlie and I, break of day the only two customers in the house. God bless Waffle House, I know Charlie does. Wish to hell they would make their way to California. I remember very vividly all those there to honor Charlie, what a soulful gathering that was, rocking that old house at Peeler’s place with words and music. We are all so damn lucky to call the Rank Stranger of the Provinces our friend. Eat a peach baby, the road goes on forever…

  2. I liked your poem “last chance motel” a lot. Reminded me of of a motel in eastern Colorado from my youth…maybe it was in Wray or Yuma…one of them… I can’t remember. But I think I know that “old man from an old war”

  3. Woke up thinking about Cipher Sisters & had to google you to make sure you were still kicking around in the world & in the words. Good to see you still putting out great work
    Amanda G.

  4. Amanda,

    So nice to hear from you. I came by to check in with the outlaws, and was totally surprised to see you passing through. Believe this or not, I just read your interview with Craig Wallwork at Menacing Hedge. I just submitted a short story called “Boundaries” to this web site. Cipher Sisters seems like a hundred years ago… getting old and in the way, here in South Carolina. Still playing the blues on my Stratocaster every chance that I get.

    Much love,

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