C.W. Blackwell

Five Views of a Cheap Motel

The droning of A/C units are 

psalms for the wayward— 


full-throated mantras

beneath blinking vacancy signs.


How eagerly we go wandering 

along moth-busy walkways


where room numbers hang 

swiveled on their woodscrews.




A stain spreads in the 


popcorn ceiling as if 


guests dream of nothing


but darkly rotting flowers.




Ana cooks midnight in a 

soda can and bares the

warm fang at last week’s vein

shirtless and sh-shaking

while the teevee broadcasts

sweaty night preachers

with soot-black eyes and 

time itself 

moans and rattles through

decades of paper-thin walls.




Amid the calamity of a traffic accident

come tiny scratches in the wall studs

—rodents foretelling human suffering.


The rug feels like taxidermy

and carpet tacks threaten 

your bare feet like yellowjackets.


Atomic patterns in the wallpaper—

watch their nuclear harmonies 

slough and sag from the bare bricks.




The night manager presses


a bloodshot eye to the wall—


his heart twists with larvae and


his breath reeks of capitalism.

10 February, 2021

C.W. Blackwell writes poetry and crime fiction. His recent work has appeared with Close to the Bone's 4.4 Series, Versification, and The Drabble. His upcoming poetry book with Close to the Bone, Road Songs for Getaway Drivers will appear in February 2022.