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C.N.P Poetry 

  • Writer's pictureCathexis Northwest Press

What The Balcony Is For

By: Jonce Marshall Palmer

for Freddie

I like to let the ash collect

my sunset cherries           far too

much steel against these clouds

simple mixture much like sherbet

I’m held back by my bra strap

tethered well into the concrete

waves of swamp swirling across

the fence           darling it feels

like so long since we last spoke        do

you think Sappho would approve of

us? no regard for that ancient security

                     we sleep bare chested 

smoke curling beside my mouth

leaves twinkling           I wonder

how latently these colors wash

our gyri            coils forever steaming

we have become so jumbled

in our late-nite searching          I don’t

feel like we’ve missed anything worth

weeping over          full cinnamon jars

two cups of chai make for a meager 

            apology            allow me to

sweep the concrete clean and finally

take the goddamn garbage out today

looking at it laid before oneself

clear observation deck

            appreciating the yellow

spices staining a few dozen windshields

sun-bleached           the chair cushion

turns from restaurant red to bruised

peach meat            drowsy reconnaissance 

and I know what the balcony is for


Jonce Marshall Palmer is a student at Florida State University studying Spanish and Russian. They hope to use their degree to work as a medical interpreter while also writing, publishing, and translating poetry. Some of their other work can be found in Underground (of Georgia State University), ANGLES, and Cleaning up Glitter literary journals. You can follow Jonce on Twitter at @masterofmusix.

"Living in a college town, a lot of people wind up throwing out perfectly good furniture so that ex-tenants can get the hell outta Dodge. Especially in the areas of fraternities and sororities, rich kids will leave very useful and even chic furniture to rot in a landfill. The impetus for this poem was the action I took of dishing two busted chairs out of the dumpster. One chair was a rusty, warped metal chair that would scrape my back. The other was an old restaurant chair with a bright red cushion and a leg that could barely stay fixed to the rest of the chair. I put them on the balcony that unites a row of apartments that faces the backyard of a couples counseling center that’s encircled by trees that are 4-5 stories tall. This was around the time my partner Freddie and I started dating. We have a lot of memories in that shared space. 

As all things break down, so too did the mismatched pair of chairs, to the point where I had to put them back in the dumpster where I found them. Fortunately, I replaced them with new ones: nice matching faux wicker chairs from the very same dumpster. At the beginning of this past semester, however, the landlord left a passive-aggressive note on my door saying that the chairs had to be left inside. Nowadays, Freddie and I have to build that space, but then take it back down. "


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