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The Observer loves poetry, but we will never be a poet. Our mind does not work that way: all that passion heat and mindful pressure crushing the boring charcoal briquettes of existence into diamonds. The Observer has, however, collected quite a menagerie of Arkansas poets in our life over the years. So we called in some favors for you, dear sweltering reader:

MOONLIGHT

Moon

swimming

in its lunar waves

thinking of you

such dreams

when

pulled under

the current of sleep

to be carried

out to sea

adrift in the

tidal pull

that is your name

— Randi Romo

DIVE

More hotels have gone up in this city. They line

the sidewalks like bored policemen keeping

the crowds dumb. You want to know why

none of them have dive bars off their

lobbies instead of stools wiped clean after

every ass. You want to know why we

still live here when every other kingdom calls.

We walk until we find two beers under a tin roof

and splinters in our elbows. It's a hundred degrees

out. It feels like a hundred ten. It's not yet the end

of July and we had to get out of that old house to

escape the heat before we stripped naked and

pressed our bodies to the hardwood like animals.

We wear only what we have to today, ragged

old shirts and shorts that show we're

interested in being men. I used to be embarrassed

by my nothing shoulders and below them

a chest that blossomed barbed wire too early.

Isn't it funny how we run from things that make us

beautiful? Once I wanted smooth skin

and everything clean. Now I want the hair

of dark places. I want to drink these beers

to cool us off then screw when we're buzzed

on a bed that's scratched and clawed but has

never seen a better day than this.

— Bryan Borland

A PASSING THOUGHT OF SARTRE

What sacrifices, Jean Paul,

for a stroll to the Café de Flore

with an intellectual woman,

or the blank stare of a page

seducing you to procreate

thoughts instead of babies?

You placed all bets on the

horror of words to soothe

the beating of a book's

paper wings,

to ease the sour taste

of disappointment;

a feast of ideas gone slightly off.

No. That wasn't it at all.

It was more the look in

the eye of a coming storm,

the furious dance

of crimson clouds or

rain coming down like

a razor's edge

making you laugh,

making you long for

a life in a garden

with a child,

and never a word

spoken.

— Paula McCauley Shelton

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