Hand-to-Hand and other Poems


Patrick Walsh

Art by Andrea Modica



What I’m gonna tell you might save your life:
Fight a gun, run from a knife. Think I’m nuts?
Ain’t but one way a pistol can hurt you
And that’s a bullet out the business end.
Move in close, like a bullfighter. Twist, bend,
Stomp his foot, just get your hands on that piece.
Now you’ve got a chance. Guy pulls a switchblade?
Hey, you don’t want any part of that dance.
It’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll bleed.
Even if jerkoff doesn’t have a clue,
There’s still a dozen ways he can hurt you:
Stab, thrust, slash—if he’s coked-up forget it.
You see a barrel then you take your shot;
You see a knife, well son, it’s time to dash.



In his raspy Central Casting Gangster:
“Kevin, your brother’s a character!”
From McManus, his highest accolade,
Unless he qualified it with total
And then even more honor was paid.
Marty loved mythos—folklore, the anecdotal,
Sacred stories—like how Flynny got laid
Three times in one night tending bar at Fiori’s
Or when he tossed a Lucky Strike
From a motel balcony and O’Neill,
Belly-up in the pool like a circus seal,
Caught it on his tongue. With his gravelly wheeze:
“Edison, those guests musta been horrified!”
Ah, Marty McManus . . . what a great friend,
It tore me up to watch the way he died.
That frog in his throat metastasized.


Profile of a Goddess

Gratuitous Citroën,
I’ve seen you adorn
Many a side street in Manhattan,
An automotive memento
Like a trendy talisman
From that magical year
Spent on sabbatical,
Parked across from Les Deux Magots,
Your owner smoking Gitanes
And playing at radical.
Now you’re a Lego, bricked in by
A Camry and an Escort
On East 62nd between 5th and Madison—
In front of a hydrant, too,
But your driver skates:
Goddamned diplomatic plates.


Spring / Summer 2023

Patrick Walsh

Patrick Walsh was born in Queens. After college, he served as an infantry officer in the 25th Infantry Division. His poems have appeared in Barrow Street, Chronogram, and War, Literature & the Arts, as well as in venues abroad, such as The Malahat Review, Poetry New Zealand, Quadrant, and THE SHOp. A Senior Writer at scene4 magazine, he writes a monthly column.

Andrea Modica

Guggenheim Fellow and Fulbright Scholar Andrea Modica is a graduate of Yale School of Art. Her photographs are in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum, Brooklyn Museum, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Smithsonian American Art Museum, George Eastman House, and Bibliothèque Nationale, among others. Her solo exhibitions include San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, and San Diego Museum of Photographic Arts. Her monographs include Treadwell, Barbara, Minor League, Human Being, Fountain, L’Amici del Cuore, As We Wait, January 1, Lentini, Reveal, 2020, and Theatrum Equorum. Modica lives in Philadelphia and teaches at Drexel University.

support evergreen