Tag Archives: skipping town

Regular Poem: Thelma and Louise-ing It

13 Apr

are there any shitty motels
with garish neon signs
threadbare carpet
itchy sheets
one half-drunk guy staffing the joint
who lets you pay in cash
and accepts the name jane doe
on the (hard copy, actual paper) registry?

just in case someone
takes me up on the offer
of thelma and louise-ing it
i want to know
what obstacles i’m up against

do i really have to start my
outlaw life
with something so mundane and terrible as
identity theft?

i don’t want to steal anybody’s grandma’s credit card
just to be able to stay
in a shitty motel

i just want to run off
drive through the southwest in my convertible
with a revolver, a stack of benjamins, some beef jerky, and a pal

sure maybe
i would consider knocking over a liquor store
and definitely
i need
to start a couple fights

but i don’t want to dick with
credit cards
or even cell phones

do payphones still exist
somewhere in a podunk wasteland?

nevermind don’t care
i don’t have any calls to make
it would fit the aesthetic
to at least see one
(deposit a quarter
whisper in a hushed frantic quaver
about whatever dire thing)

it wouldn’t be as fun
without a little cat and mouse

or maybe it would

credit card fraud is
so douchey
so cowardly

if i go down for a crime
i want to at least enjoy the crime

but of course
we all know
how thelma and louise

Regular Poem: The Day They Sell That Sailboat

3 Apr

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m gone.

I’m missing all my turns and heading
straight south until the road ends and then
taking another road

driving and driving
until I’m out of gas and then
just running
until I’m out
of air.

I’m collapsing in a field
five blocks from
my abandoned vehicle
and lying there

I have the energy
to scream

and scream until
I don’t have the energy.

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m out.

I’m knocking over a convenience store
fleeing in a stolen Cutlass
Thelma and Louise-ing it
through the Southwest.

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m off.

I track the buyer
and seduce and abandon him
take that sailboat sailing
somewhere it’s never sailed before.
Forwarding address:
catch us if you can.

The day they sell that sailboat
I’m done.

I’m done with that fantasy
Too bad.
Babe would’ve loved that sailboat.

Regular Poem: Lamentations

12 Nov

you don’t feel so bad
when you just

live and struggle and hate and rage and ache and hunger and grieve and repent and pray and wish

and it’s just what you do
like unloading the dishwasher
or flossing your teeth
a routine
a ritual
automatic and nothing of note

but when
someone loves you
so hard


i don’t have a good poker face
but i thought i was better at a whole mask
but i’m not apparently
the lipstick shields me
from other eyes maybe

(but i was right
i’m not the same)

but the difference
between our theories
on the origin of the change
is that
mine details my own faults and failings
masochistic self-loathing
prognosis chronic recurring incurable
treat symptoms with day dreams and liquor

she knows
something did it to me
disrespected me enough devalued me enough
so often and so long
that i’ve internalized it

presciption skipping town

not in so many words
but it’s the same idea
the same idea
i’ve had and discarded
but coming from her
it sounds more reasonable

it’s not a houseboat
but it’s something
a hope

someone believes in you
and always has
and still does
even though
you don’t

prognosis acute deadly
prescription amputate

any pills will overload the kidneys
any injections will poison the liver
excise while you can
the rest can be salvaged
will phoenix itself once the tumor is gone

but what if
everything is the tumor

and you get rid of one
and two more sprout
you skip town
and it’s the same everywhere
because the problem isn’t the town you’re skipping
but the skippee
He hath set me in dark places
as they that be dead of old

it is good for a man
that he bear the yoke in his youth
but how long is youth
truth is objective
but a lot of the intracacies
of same
are subjective

he sitteth alone and keepeth
because he hath borne it upon him
heaping my own hot coals onto my own head

and still
there’s this
everyone has
but you

the masochist the feminist
inside you
screams and screams
cries and cries

(and the glossy tears unshed
making your alto a tenor

a ’40s melodrama heroine conflicted
about leaving her cheating husband
or writing a salt-stained letter
confessing to a murder)

someone knows
more than you
knows more than you
in certain arenas

what evidence
is trusted
is the jury

His compassions fail not
they are new every morning

i am different
He is
who is and who was and who is to come
and i just gotta
a little longer
and maybe different me
will do different things
or die trying

Regular Poem: Tornado Season

26 Apr

I don’t think
I’d replace all four
bathing suits

just bare bones at first
focus on the essentials

a couple weeks worth of panties
and some cute luggage
to carry them in
live in a motel for a while

like some noir protagonist
on the lam
buy a cheap jalopy
that runs on sawdust and willpower
spending my days
calling the insurance company
on a rotary phone
sitting in the dark
ambling through wet shadowed alleys
in a damp second-hand trench coat
with a throaty narration playing somewhere
running into other displaced people
and nodding grimly
getting into fights in bars

that is
if my house
didn’t land on a witch.

Regular Poem: I Can’t Even Find a Decent Used Piano on Craigslist

18 Apr

one of those
studio warehouse penthouse apartments
where you ride your motorcycle
right from the industrial elevator
into the living room
that has one leather couch
and a punching bag
and a record player
and a wet bar

you know
the kind
every mysterious sexy stranger has
in ’90s noir
where it’s always grimy
and mostly rust colored
probably situated on a dock
of some kind

and if you pay rent at all
you pay in cash
you recieve from weird
’90s noir jobs
but mostly
you just listen to old blues
and brood
and be sexy and mysterious

also seeking
and a mystery to solve

do not contact me
with unsolicited services or offers

unless they lead to weird
’90s noir jobs
that will finance this apartment

Regular Poem: Skipping Town

20 Dec

But what if
I actually did
skip town
like I always say
like I always dream about–
a cache of cash
and a fast car
dark sunglasses
a dye job?

How much
could really be
and new?

(There’s nothing
under the sun.
Vanity of vanities.)

I would shower
the same–
buy the same
stuff and use it
the same

I’m a creature
of habit,
particulars and specifics,
And even if I weren’t,
my body
wouldn’t suddenly not be
my body–
with all its cravings
and allergies
and sensitivities.
A new identity
could erase
but not

This new identity
(this hypothetical new identity;
I don’t have the faintest
of how to obtain one
much less how to
sustain one)
lives and breathes,
but what does it subsist on?
Lies and obfuscation?
Half truths and veiled memories?
A shadow play,
bound by its script–
more bound than my old life in some ways–
to its new setting and characters and plot,
imprisoned publicly.
on my new houseboat,
in my new loft,
at my new desk–
what do I default to
in the darkness?

I run scenarios
personality traits
and style choices
and belief systems,
into my very atomic structure–
down to the basics
(and the acids, too).
I sift
until I’m a fine flour–
a powder,
a dust–
mostly skin cells:
miniscule samples of DNA

recognizable as me
but stripped down
naked and shivering
in that drafty houseboat
quizzing myself
on my new social security number
practicing my new handwriting.
There I am–
running away from and into

Regular Poem: The Downside to Faking Your Own Death

27 Apr

But really,
how much work does it take to
fake one’s own

Like what kind
of connections do you need,
and how
do you start planning it?

And, most importantly,
how long into it
before you go mad
quoting Emily Dickinson poetry
to yourself
as an inside joke
you can share with
only yourself
the fly buzzing when you
in the house
where you
the carriage ride you took
with Death
to get there?

And then when
you have your new identity,
every new person you meet
is like, “Who are you?”
And you’re like,
“I’m nobody! Who are you?”
And they’re like,
“Wow. Nerd alert.”
And you’re like–
internally, of course–
“Lol. No, but really, I’m dead
in real life.”

How much of this
could you stand?
Would it be worth it
to live
in your own death
with Emily Dickinson
and all your
guilt and paranoia?
Looking over your shoulder
for cops and ex-flames,
always half an ear hearing
the dialogue between
the spirit and the dust?

Like sometimes
I think I could do it,
and sometimes
the nights in my brain would just be
too wild.

Book 'Em, Jan O

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