Charles F. Thielman

Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., moved to Chicago, educated at red-bricked universities and on city streets, Charles Thielman has worked as a social worker, truck driver, city bus driver, and enthused bookstore clerk. His poetry has appeared in The Pedestal, Pif Magazine, The Commonline, Gargoyle, Poetry365, and elsewhere.

August Sunset on City Glass

Brake squeals fly like ingots
through this city’s enzyme weave,
revolving door catching a sun slant.

The white-haired man in a dark suit turns
from tending bloodshot treaties in a mirror
and joins in, praising what light there is.

Raising another scotch-fueled toast up in
praise of the stillborn, they anoint their sorrows
with glints off seven glasses in blue smoke,

sax notes spun inside the liquid flutter
of jazz piano. Your thirst for Vermeer light
sated through happy hour by the brunette

tending bar. Your crew palming the bar-rail,
standing ready for the next toast, work-chewed
hands sponging the cool beads off each glass.

The new guy toasts his fourth paycheck,
his glances following the bartender
as she fills hollows below the muted news.

Her ring-less hands moving bottle to glass,
the telling of what she knows a mural
of brushing silks over rose stems.