Remembering Paul Newman In Donald Trump’s America

Image of Paul Newman in Cool Hand Luke

When Paul Newman Was Alive

All night, wind, a pelting of rain, then sump pump songs,
so that by morning I hear the clock of my life as off-then-on
machinery against the backdrop of August rain and everything
about being here now rounded off to the gold of first light in Ohio.
No one is out yet but a neighbor, who retrieves a New York Times
from a driveway. The asphalt is shining about the way it did then,
when Paul Newman was alive and the United States of America
was a good dream we were having about a country, this country.
If last night’s tempest was an army, divisions spent themselves
farther off in the east, over the shallow Licking River; beyond,
white lines of wood smoke emphatically rise into blue-black
like the prodigal smoke from cook fires in a Western movie.
My neighbor is at his door. He closes it, that door he lives
his life behind, as if one storm isn’t the end of the world.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.

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