Bus Poem 4
Just out of Cheyenne, a Greyhound keeps pace
with a VW Bug, yellow, this girl’s suitcase
down below, full of matches, bubblegum,
pink socks, cigarettes
and studded leather belts.
The punch of sunrise wipes
the guy in black jeans, white shirt,
the one she sniffed out
at the last truck stop.
He sleeps now, face a total blank,
dozing with the other passengers.
The Chevron station
after the night’s small rain
seemed to sweat. She’s warm. She sips
blueberry soda, her eyes looking
to shake the man down, swipe the tan
Carhartt jacket to a place it’s never been.
She thinks the mountains
look shy here, just like his eyes: brown fire pools.
The hint of cologne she smells. Young adults here
collect handfuls of dust to toss to the side,
spit following, she thinks.
She wonders if he’s crushed
by ranch work come summer,
or if he felt a thunderstorm’s rain trickle
down his spine before sunrise, light rose and ochre,
if he stands up to bargain with the day,
grand like that in some sad way.
She wonders if he’s the morning wreckage:
dreams of Wyoming wrestlers
thundering through the hills, as they rise up
and shrug themselves away
like the shoulders of this man.
Pixie’s Piss Call
In every direction, spiders breathe
bathed by the red lights
of downtown motels.
of bad storms.
are on the fritz,
your mind the disorders
of Styrofoam cups
in a breeze.
Down the street, Kerouac refugees
run for sleepy circumstance,
trapped in their amiable basements
You want to call those friends
Listen, tonight you look
like the silence of flowers, an overgrown animal
twisting in the swingset wind.
Put on your pajamas and tweed caps,
hear the Japanese jazz sighs.
I want your midnight throb
and dissolving angels.
I want you to simply swim
the night with me.
Even branches are dead,
no blood in the last glow:
constellation of bark bits,
leaves now, so many ghosts
in the spent woods,
a dead silence as pure
as any chain saw gash –
yes, smooth and empty are
these hearts of sawdust.
We remember the bodiless sheets
of men who arrive
to cut them down.
Aaron Brand’s poetry has appeared in StringTown, Mad Swirl, Nebo: A Literary Journal, Rufous City Review, Foliate Oak Literary Magazine, Firebush: Journal of Poetry and The Aquila Review, among other publications. A Chicago native and graduate of the MFA in creative writing program at Eastern Washington University, he co-edits the online literary journal Typewrite and is an arts, entertainment and features reporter at the Texarkana Gazette newspaper. He is the keeper of a menagerie, including cats, dogs, donkeys and one sheep, on a farm in rural Southwest Arkansas, the antics of which he chronicles through photography on Instagram at @aaronbrand71.