Aaron Brand ~ Three Poems

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.
Jot down
their message
of bad storms.
Your flights
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
of escape.

You want to call those friends
and say,

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.

Clear Cut

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.