Phone Booth in Tujunga, CA by James H Duncan


Phone Booth in Tujunga, CA



yellow gold hills of dust where that diner

tucked in among the pines and stone


it’s where we had long talk of ex

husbands and wives

over hamburgers and cokes spiked


with your flask of Jameson

before we headed back

out the door, but you left your smokes


inside and had to hit the ladies one last time

so I took the moment to use the old


phone booth by the road, door whining

open and fishing quarters from my


pocket to call back east, could still

hear “Old Shoes (and Picture Postcards)”


from your open car window, and all

of the sudden I didn’t have anyone


to call, no number coming to mind so

important that I had to slide them quarters


home, so I didn’t, I just waited for you

to come back to the car and we held hands


going faster and faster down those hills back

to the valley where we’d part ways at the


East Hollywood bust station later that night

knowing it was a long shot we’d ever


see each other again, but knowing the road

held stranger things than a reunion


so who knew? not us, not the fry cook, not Tom

Waits, or even the bus driver stealing me north


one last time along our golden coast

before we both became memories at last  


Previously appeared in Feral Kingdom (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2019)




James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and the author of Feral KingdomNights Without RainDead City JazzWhat Lies In Wait, and other collections of poetry and fiction. He is a former editor at Writer’s Digest, a graduate from a now defunct Vermont college, and a reviewer of indie bookshops at his blog, The Bookshop Hunter. For more, visit www.jameshduncan.com.