Mike Faran: Five Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement: Though my genetic roots were not planted in Southern soil, a brief sojourn in San Antonio, Texas provided me with a life-changing experience. Southern culture and literature has been a strong influence in my writing.

Five Poems

BAD NIGHT IN VIRGINIA

We dug up ol’ Leroy last week &
he was still ok except
that he wasn’t breathing &
his skin was kind of orange &
yellow

We only done it because we
forgot about the gold in his tooth &
nobody could
recall if he was wearing a ring of
matrimony

So goddamn drunk we were after
the fight

But with a great fight like that
somebody always dies –
it’s a consequence of
the circumstances or even Fate or
God’s Will

Well we found nothing so reburied
ol’ Leroy &
the air smelt a lot better

When I get killed I hope they have the
respect to pour
kerosene over me & set everything
ablaze
& they don’t have to tell my wife
‘cause she’ll know

Womenfolk know that a man is dead
when he shows up missing

I stayed to say Amen to Leroy then ran
to catch up with the boys
_______________________________________

landmarks & action-figures in the northwest

that girl sitting in the
battered red pick-up had a
cigarette dangling from
her ruby lips;
both tattooed hands busy
with loopy earrings.
she was twelve or thirteen

the truck had been abandoned
for many months,
perhaps years, by the side of
the river –
tires flat, moss-green;
a prime subject for a still-life

kids played & smoked in it
because it couldn’t be seen from
the coast highway,
tall pines protected it

i asked the girl if i could take a
picture of the truck with her still
in it &
some with her out of it,
told her that i was a photographer;
she yawned & said it’ll
cost ten bucks

the manager at the motel told me
that i might run into something
like this,
that the whole river was run by
gypsy-pirates

then the young girl said that for
twenty
she’d take & show me a 2-headed
alligator – “no matter what way
you turn, you’re fucked”
______________________________________

LIVING ALONE WITH A ONE-EYED CAT

Mornings I hear the
whoosh of cars trucks & busses on
the damp windy boulevards

Sometimes I wonder about
waffles & wish I’d
paid more attention when she was

still here. It’s called a waffle iron,
she’d whisper as if I couldn’t
be trusted

And I always wanted at least three –
hot enough to make butter scream &
to bubble the syrup

but cool enough to eat after stirring
my mug of black coffee

Now there’s only this one-eyed cat
knocking around an
empty beer can in the dark corner &

these two eggs that I’m afraid to crack
_______________________________________

texas women

o it’s summer & the
mouths of things open
wide for sunny
beer & crickets are
jumping in
the balmy happy
night air

all this on the eternal
picnic grounds

where the texas women
take off their
boots only to do
wild wordless deeds

o it’s summer & sweet
pain grows green
wings
_________________________________

the river drive

we drove slowly
down the back roads of west
virginia
booze in the car
a dead man in the trunk

this was sixteen
maybe seventeen years ago &
it was my father

who wanted to be buried next to
where the river ran

the river where he celebrated
life with lines of
dancing bass

old boots & license plates
whatever the good lord felt free
to give

we drove that battered studebaker
like it was a
long black cadillac &

swapped sips of corn liquor from
his flask
found under the driver’s seat &

we buried him beside that long blue
river
where the big bass still dance

Author: Dead Mule Staff