nothing really significant to say

John Bush

Ahead of me
the azaleas brown in the sun
and the little red anemones that
Popped open yesterday
wilt and sag in the gradual heat
like a dripping tongue warm with thick slobber
kinda like that wallpaper glue melting in that Barton Fink movie.
As I sit here on the tailgate of my dad's Ford,
which is white, flaking, and bubbling at places
where the rust is eating through,
(He hauls a lot of pipe, scraping the paint sometimes)
I look across the street to an empty house that has just started being built.
It's just a framework of pine now, no insides yet,
But the view from here is fine.
I drink my Budweiser.
I just turned 27 yesterday
and declare
that I'm old enough
and sharp as new sand.
I can carry every pound, which is steadily increasing--stir words--watch talk
and avoid each regret.
SpacerI guess I'm on a lucky streak.

And as I sit here, I rub a fingernail I just chewed
between my thumb and forefinger
and flick it away like a finished cigarette.
I look at the whorled pad of my finger
recalling what I just proclaimed
and slowly admit things still aren't clear

When I look up to watch that bare house
an empire of gnats dot the heavy air
two feet in front of my face.
I casually split them with one sweet fanatical swat of my hand
like Moses divided the red sea
But as soon as they part,
they reappear vibrating
like atoms glancing off of each other.
They look like a hum.

In the distance I hear the tiny
Forays of a weed eater and
its unsteady inflection,
even like a hawking and clearing of a throat sometimes.
The engine choking on too much gas or a clog of dust
I guess. Maybe the dumb ass doesn't know how to use it.

Anyway, I turn to flesh tomorrow with a clear mind of yesterday, maybe
(to keep me on wry,
to follow a bright line
around the world and up)

Today is hot and pressive, too,
ground up and swelling like a stomach full of wine.
It is humid, almost greasy,
like the time I went fishing and caught that catfish.

That day fishing in the big sun
I squatted and pulled the fish out of the water, it writhing on my stringer,
until I clubbed it against a sharp rock in front of me.
It almost slipped
away from me, all the slime on its skin.
I plunged it into the water, sliced it neatly open,
right down the snow white
belly that was soft and bloated like a pustule.
The blood seeped through the clean cut
like the blood seeping out of a teenagers throat
when it is cut by the maniac in one of those Friday the 13th movies.
Roe squirted out in clumps.
I peeled the skin back
and at places the skin tore.
I pulled the guts and insides out,
and flung them from my fingers black with blood.
I could see the white whiteness of the backbone.
Then I washed it in the muddy lake.
I can still feel that ooze and
I remember its clotted eyes,
a thin membrane covering the meaty gelatin.
They swiveled in their sockets
when I pushed on them, still staring
wide, gasping, drying in the air.

I feel the breeze slip by me now,
it about to rain.
The cool dampness of sweat and mist raise my skin.
As I sit on this new ground,
licked by the wind and tasted
I see the rain start to blacken the street in front of me
and pock the dust on the ground beside me.
The rain covers the
memory, but

What of it? where will it go? And what can it really do?
Well, don't ask me. I'm still thinking,
but I think I'll write a poem and send it in. At least I'll get it
out and half-way over with. Besides, maybe they can read it at the
supper table


winnows hope's tegument,
leaving it vulnerable and soft-

eschews the goings on in the mind,
leaving obscured impatience
And an abundant moment to rethink.

Cover Prior Next

The 2River View, 3_2 (Winter 1999)