PoetryIssue 03 | February 2009

Two Poems by Stephen Bunch

Dream Rat

He wears a fedora and gives me a lift
in my father’s ’48 Desoto
with a bison skull wired to the front.
Grilled buffalo, he chortles
and asks where I’m going, then grinds
his teeth while I answer, Any
empty blue house up the road
.

He cocks his head and aims
a black unblinking eye my way,
whiskers fluttering
in the air conditioner’s steady blow.
Empty blue is a color I don’t know,
he squeaks, then flips off
a passing trucker.

That’s deep, I say. He lights
a cigarette and exhales,
Deep blue I can dig.
How ‘bout some music,
a little “Terraplane Blues”
or Sonny Boy’s “Straight Eight
Pontiac,”
tapping a claw
on the radio buttons, cigarette
bobbing as he mumbles.
You got “Stray Cat Blues?”
I ask and poke him in the ribs.

No, but I got “Foolkiller.”
Keep that up, pilgrim, and you’ll
be thumbing it again.

I wonder aloud if having eyes
on the sides of his head
makes it difficult to drive.
He says no, head turned he sees
forward and backward at once,
a rodent Tiresias with greasy
clumped hair, doesn’t use
the rearview except as a hook from which
his Playboy bunny air freshener dangles.

Thanks for that, by the way,
I say, as he squints in the mirror
and sighs. Get my sunglasses outta
the glove box, will ya,
and see if any beers are left
in that cooler behind your seat.

His tail thumps on the console in time
to Mose Allison’s left hand on the keys.
The foolkiller’s comin’, he squeals along,
he’s gettin’ closer everyday.

I reach for the cooler, look
out the rear window, and see
no horizon, only empty blue sky.

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About the author

Stephen Bunch lives and writes in Lawrence, Kansas. His poems have appeared recently in Ithaca Lit: Lit with Art, Mudlark, Rootdrinker, Read his chapbook, Preparing to Leave (the title poem of which first appeared in The Literary Bohemian).

 

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Outside Ngaoundere by Aaron Brown
Watershed by Catherine Chandler
1955-D and 1945-S by Craig Cotter
Hyacinth by Dylan Crawford
Strays by Judy Darley
Freedom Fries by Krista Genevieve Farris
City Lights, Dirty Window by Janna Layton
The Road to Managua by Wilda Morris
Edinburgh, Alone by Stephanie Papa
Two poems by Eugenia Hepworth Petty
Four poems by Christine Potter
Next to the River by Jeremy Radin
Another Art by Susanna Rich
Five poems from Shoshauna Shy
Three poems by R L Swihart
Two poems by Rimas Uzgiris

Postcard prose

Gritsev Calls by Jeremy Radin
The Last Gentleman by Eldon Reishus

Travel notes

The Pond by Ariana Nadia Nash
So There They Were at the Beach Again, Looking Around by Janice D. Soderling