Larry Colker




Eros in the Heartland


Arthur is dead.
Chivalry is dead.
The Romantics are dead.
I’m at the dry cleaner’s in Pittsburgh when I get the call:
I am needed in Nebraska. Diana, Apollo, Mercury
and Venus are waiting tables at the Twilight Diner,
incognito benefactors of cattlemen and cheerleaders.
Merc tells me they’ve found a boy and a girl
they’ve decided to make soulmates. I have my orders.
Dante is dead.
Beatrice is dead.
I point my red Testarossa west, and am in Twilight City
by sunset the next day. I know the drill. There’s a football game
that night. He’ll buy a hot dog, then back into her 32-oz. Coke.
I just have to be there when he turns around and sees
the caramel-colored stain spreading across her white
cheerleader sweater as if it were being scorched from inside.
Abélard is dead.
Héloïse is dead.
It’s halftime at the game. There goes the Coke, he’s turning
around, their eyes meet, I do my little business
with the brain chemicals, and voilà. They’re both smiling.
Petrarch is dead.
Laura is dead.
Before leaving town I cruise by the diner. Apollo
is sweeping up inside. I rev my engine, he looks at me
through the picture window, nods, resumes sweeping.
Tristan is dead.
Isolde is dead.
I point the Testarossa toward the sunrise.
I have books to return to the library in Pittsburgh.



435569-1589658-thumbnail.jpgIn 2006 Larry Colker was the poetry winner of the California Writers Exchange contest sponsored by Poets & Writers, Inc. Poems have appeared in The Cortland Review, The Los Angeles Review, Cider Press Review, RATTLE, poeticdiversity, nthposition, and in several anthologies of contemporary California poets.

He is managing editor of Speechless (, an online poetry journal edited by Suzanne Lummis, and for nine years he has co-hosted one of the longest-running weekly poetry readings in Los Angeles.