They couldn’t avoid the dead
caught in the blast,
caught in the fall out,
Some lay in circular patterns
feet to feet, a ragged cartwheel
decorated by serene expressions
of finally being right
It was God,
one guardian of such dead intoned
your God killed them? The girl asked.
No, no, he impatiently waved his hand
munched a meat sandwich
No. They are with God
How do you know?
I sent them there.
50 miles per hour
Sam gloated stroking the dusty hood
seven days of walking
in one hour, think of that
but there was no fuel, tires melting in the sun
Don’t you see?
@ The Final Lounge
the woman of a certain age crowed
every wrinkle – gone!
her red stretched skin blasted smooth
I can’t stop looking at my face.
The center of the highway curved
over the bare horizon
shelters looked like casinos:
Seven Feathers & A Squaw
Still standing on stage
The Drummer bragged –
women loved me
he rolled his head, black hair flying
this was a lame gig, small audience
big blast – I was in the basement don’t ask
You make music like I saw on screens
the girl finally spoke, dazzled
the drummer smiled
we can’t stay, Sam insisted
Deep in their bunkers, the Easterners
kidnapped writers willing or not
wrote for food – the Letter Men
DO NOT GO WEST
survivors trudged over the oily soil
heard nothing, the arrays were down
packs of RVs, beached land whales
yes, chortled the old man,
back in the yesterday
we needed a big cart for all the food
we had cars the size of trucks
refrigerators the size of cars
The girl offered two forever Twinkies
for his story:
people like us, the old man remembered
stranded on an island
season after season
the professor tried to build a boat
the cabin boy struggled to help
he made the others laugh – the boy
a pretty movie star
Sam considered the girl’s notes
I don’t think that’s a legend
she finished writing with a flourish
it is now
Everyone moved slowly @ the Rapid City Diner
the bar tender wiped the countertop
leaving streaks of damp that failed
to dematerialize in the heavy air
in these stories, there is never a girl
I know, Sam accepted the home brew
appreciation heightened by deprivation
I thought it would be more sincere
with the girl
beer foamed over the mug
Sam wiped his mouth and laughed
the RV residents tried to walk
but instead fell and littered
the rutted prairie trails
Bring Out Your Dead
They wintered in airplanes
a season Sam named
for sky so fierce that she called it
the Time of Abandoned Gods
The Travel Gods
the Train Gods
the Desert Gods
They weren’t alone in the planes
a big woman with wild hair in row16
asked about the girl
old enough, the woman was confident
Sam looked at the sky instead of the wild hair
I will not tempt her gods
He and the woman disappeared into the lavatory
The ground version of high mile club
He called himself the Drummer
his name from his first terror gang
what were the choices?
boys wilding in the center of the country,
taking on anything that moved –
Goblins; they made the best story
the enemy like the corporation
The Drummer posted their rush and cry
their exploits were not followed
the Corporation never bothered to delete
The Mother God,
the girl explained
her shadow made from the long light of spring
has to stay, must care,
she is the mother
The girl’s logic, impeccable;
the beer, helpful
desperate men nodded
offering drink and attention
The Mother God will protect you.
like a foster mom.
one man concluded
yes, she agreed, not knowing what that meant
she and Sam were safe for another night.
By reasonable deduction
the remaining gods were angry gods
she promised to discover why
A trained roared by
called out, smug, we ride!
He always stuffed her backpack first
Twinkies, cans of chips, Ding Dongs
notebooks took up too much room.
no, leave the cansprotect the stories
Happy National Poetry Month!
This is one of eight chapters of Drinks @ the Last Cafe.
You can get a complimentary copy of the entire poem by leaving a helpful review for my new book, Deep Trouble
or for After I’m Buried Alive.
Notify me when you’ve posted the review – cbramkamp (at) gmail (dot) com and I will send you the ebook version along with my sincere thanks.