Man out of Time (Justin Lowe)

he was everyone’s friend
everyone’s confidante
he slotted in nicely under a crooked arm
he was a kind of bellwether
people would cross the room to greet him
they always asked him how he was doing
as though he had never really told them
buskers would ask him if the tempo was right
ask him to mind their guitars
while they chased girls for money
jokes poured out of him like confetti
like ticker tape in the old newsreels
cascading off the broad shoulders of heroes
he would help write eulogies and the best man’s speech
people plonked their babies into his lap 
and yet, when you look closely at the photographs
of all those special days those happy and sad says
that bookend the seasons in a small town
he seems remarkable by his absence
as though the camera’s cold eye mistook him for a ghost
a kind of benign spirit, something lost
between light and dark


Justin currently resides in a house called ‘Doug’ in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney where he edits poetry blog Bluepepper. His Days of Wine and Bruises, Selected Poems (1996-2016) was released in April 2016. His work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Cordite Magazine (Melbourne), Cortland Review (US), The Cafe Review (US), Verity La (Sydney), and Stylus Review (Brisbane), as well as in the Australian anthology of new writing, The Hunger. Justin has just released his seventh collection, The Picketer.