Tag Archives: #whitetrashprobz

Regular Poem: White Trash Gothic

2 Apr

if i were a bronte
or maybe just somebody
who once shared a train compartment with flannery o’connor
i might do it better

have a few better descriptions
more succinct lines of ominous dialogue

instead of just this
jumbled narrative
that feels like
the world’s longest hangover
but like a whiskey hangover
all not unpleasant heat in the chest and infuriating pulsing in the eyeballs
the scratch of too many cigarettes
in the wet chasm of a throat
unused to speaking
to anyone but ghosts

one must wonder
what are the differences between conspiracy
poor planning
bad choices
obscene coincidence
familial curse
divine providence?

one must wonder
if there are
they’re worth noting

i’m a romantic maybe
a shelley romantic
don’t buy me teddy bears
take me to a cemetery and whisper
in my ear about mutability

and that’s where we find our heroine
in a cemetery
whispering words of mutability
into her own ears

this audiobook is almost over
to be replaced by another
forgotten as soon
as the librarian reshelves it
images might remain
but do they belong
to this
or an audiobook from eight years ago?

our heroine exits
enters a new scene
whispers different mutable things to herself

what’s the best meal you ever ate?
what’s the best kiss you ever had?

i’ve had too many
i didn’t catlogue them
enjoyed them in the moment
and the moment isn’t now

the moment now
is conspiracy
poor planning
bad choices
obscene coincidence
familial curse
divine providence

the now moment
is a hangover waiting to happen
an audiobook half finished
little stupid steaks pan fried in butter
a kiss with too much teeth
a cemetery with one visitor
who didn’t even bring flowers


Regular Poem: The GCBRO Extends Its Deepest Sympathies

14 Dec

don’t worry

i don’t need
anybody to love me
or a baby to scold
or a job that treats me like a human
or even just an alcoholic old gruff racist sentimental dad to hang out with and be perpetually frustrated by

i just need
some cool ass guns
and a little bourbon

i don’t need peace of mind
or anything better to do

just full garages
and a little petty cash

just a hastily bought tuxedo
and second hand memories
and a ton of fantasies
about being a completely different person

just anger and grief
and ghosts and guilt

don’t worry



how do you like your new roommates?

you thought it was just going to be you
and that piano

fat chance, sweetheart

when you’re with a woman such as i
you’ve got to learn to expect these things
roll with the blind lurching punches
ready to jump up and punch back
or just take it
i usually just take it
old iron jaw
they call me
old bozo the clown bop bag


don’t worry

i’m definitely not
talking to my tuxedo again

don’t worry

my tuxedo that i did not name babe
is not
the closest thing
i’ve had to a romantic relationship
in years


we really did
bury him in a cigar box
i thought it had been a joke
when i had suggested it for myself

but then there it was
so perfect

his last words were

and one more thing

spoiler alert
there wasn’t
one more thing

there were eight rounds of cpr
and then a few hours of surgery
and then many hours of tremors and seizures

until he quietly gave up the ghost
none of us there to see it

it’s like
he wanted me to see it
and no one else
i should’ve told them to stop the cpr
he was probably mad at me for that
and that whole day and a half after
was a guilt trip

one time when i was a kid
i got in a fight at school
and his punishment for me
was a two week grounding
from all my favorite stuff
and i thought it was bullshit
because that kid i smacked
deserved it
and i’ve always been great
at justifying my poor decisions

and anyway
i talked him into
an appeal

he got a bunch of his cop friends together
to be a review board
we both presented our cases
they sided with me
and my sentence was reduced to time served
plus like three days

it was very us
they call it these days
so extra

he was the most extra
and i guess i’m my father’s daughter

and hanging on to the barest definition of life
by the skin of his dentures
to watch me suffer
to watch us all suffer
for 36 hours

seems like a thing he would do


don’t worry

i cut myself opening a condolence card
and then the content of it
was the sweetest one i’d received

but i’m not bleeding anymore

don’t worry

i really am contemplating
using my inheritance
to buy a houseboat
start a new life as someone
who wears a shoulder holster with a .357 magnum in it every day

don’t worry



maybe i’ll take you out tomorrow

maybe i say tomorrow too much

maybe there’s never a today for either of us
just bleary yesterdays and tomorrows that are never
the tomorrows we want them to be


don’t worry

i’ll find someone else
who’ll spend three hours driving around looking for a stupid truck with a matte black diy paint job
and homemade plywood topper

i’ll find someone else
who’ll tour cemeteries with me
get kicked out of casinos and Chinese buffets with me

i’ll find someone else
who’ll accidentally find dead serious bigfoot websites
while searching for the county code book
(counties don’t have codes
they have ordinances)

i’ll find someone else
to confess to
and to have confess to me

i’ll find someone else
who can make me laugh and cry and rage and love and hate and think and think and think

don’t worry

Regular Poem: Guys and …?

6 Apr

she says
we don’t call grown men
so we shouldn’t call
grown women
and her argument is sound
and my feminist hackles
are rising with hers
growing in the same field
fertilized by the same
but before i can elizabeth cady stanton
myself into a frenzy
i realize

i do call grown men boys
but more often
or most often

because man is too weighty for many
i encounter

i try then to think of analogous terms
for females
and they’re mostly
to me
but sometimes
hardly ever chicks
once in a while

“this girl i know”
might be someone my age or younger
“this gal i know”
indeterminate, but sticks in the back of my mouth, i probably owe her money
“this lady i know”
someone awesome: probably
outspoken with a thousand brooches and can pull off gauchos or
a homicide lieutenant or
plays piano like a dream
“this woman i know”
that’s so clinical
dripping with disdain

“this boy i know”
could be anybody, probably cute
“this dude i know”
could be anybody, probably stupid
“this guy i know”
could be anybody, neutral
“this man i know”
sounds dirty to me
like i’m stealing somebody’s husband

now let’s play with modifiers and modes,
connotations and maybe some annotations

“good girl”
she teaches sunday school, bakes
cupcakes for the fire department, does
the Right Thing
any age lawful good
“bad girl”
smokes, drinks, carouses, sasses
red lipstick and stilettos
any age chaotic neutral
“good woman”
a good girl but even more noble
and self-sacrificing
makes your teeth ache and your heart clench
(i know one and i don’t know
whether i want to hug her straight to death
embrace her so tightly and then kill us both with my longsword
tristan and isolde style
stare lovingly at her
until she catches me
and then rib her about something
so she knows i’m still me
instead of the drooling sycophant
i become when i think too much
about how wonderful she is)
“bad woman” and “bad lady”
femme fatale, lurking
in black and white tableaus
ready for murder and seduction and fraud
“good gal”
fun to party with, straight shooter
maybe a western sharpshooter in fact

“good boy”
see good girl
“bad boy”
see bad girl
“good man”
probably a dad or a deacon or both
“bad man”
see bad woman
“good guy”
generic male who is generally conscientious,
listens and talks thoughtfully,
“bad guy”
opposite of good guy, also manipulative
maybe sinister
“good dude”
like a good guy but kind of dumb
“bad dude”
like a bad guy but kind of dumb

maybe all
these connotations
are colored by my own
internalized mysogyny
i don’t see
on the silver screen of my mind
a girl
as excusively a child
and therefore
devalue the women i call girls
because i myself am a girl
to myself
in a lot of contexts
and sometimes a woman
sometimes a lady
sometimes a gal
and sometimes a lot of other words
i try not to use
because i don’t philosophically agree
with gendered insults

but i also don’t
see boy
as exclusively a child
and a lot of other people don’t

maybe i listen to too much county western music
where everybody’s
the boys around here
and good old boys

far be it from me
to suggest
country western music
is anywhere near as progessive
as this lady thinks everything
ought to be

(“this lady”
someone respectable but to be disagreed with)

and also far be it from me
to suggest
shares my dialect
and singular sensibilities

and there’s the crux
of the problem

when that guy says girl in reference to a grown woman
he probably means something different
and thinks something different
than that man who says girl in reference to a grown woman
who means something different
than that lady who says girl in reference to a grown woman

so we’re back
to her argument
that we ought not do it
but we’re also back to my argument
of individual responsibility
and we’re back to the perennial argument
about language

and how it evolves
and influences

i’d like to do a study
of the usage of girl
in other languages

but i’m too much of a dude

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: if i die young

7 Feb

if i die young
don’t bother
with the satin and roses
just set me up with
one of those
$599 cremations
they advertise on billboards on the highway
put my ashes
in a cigar box
and my dad will place it
lovingly on his tv stand
right next to the ashes of his dog
who died quietly at 17
right on the living room floor
just gasped and died
and probably whispered
the rest is silence
in his dog language

i will have of course said
what is done cannot be undone to bed to bed to bed
or hopefully
father into thy hands i commend my spirit
but either way
it will have been finished

(i would prefer
of course
to have my body donated
give my myopic eyes
to some sap worse off than me
they’re pretty
at least
but mostly useless
[i won’t draw too many parallels
until maybe when i do
later in this poem]
my heart and lungs and kidneys and liver
ought to be all right
not great perhaps
but better than nothing
what other transplants do they even do
skin for burn victims maybe
i’ve got a lot of scars
and i sunburn easily
but like i said
better than nothing
and the leftovers
to a medical school
or something
pump that stuff in my veins
to keep them from collapsing as
scalpels pierce and peruse them
most of the bodies they get
for things like that
are old
nothing’s wrong with an old body
but variety is nice

i just don’t think my dad
would abide that
he’d want me next to oscar
so i can watch ncis with him
on tuesdays

of course there are also
other people
who might lobby hard
for an embalming
put me in a blazer with a brooch
red lipstick
so they can see the wax sculpture
that might’ve been
if i’d gotten famous

but dad would be bankrolling the thing
so cigar box
it is)

someone please
finish my vampire novel
i had an outline to follow
and praise my genius
(and don’t you even dare
add a romantic subplot)

remember that genius
and forget my faults
like most of my life

and remember only
that i was faithful

i was
a gossip and a drunk
almost totally worthless

use my credit union savings
to pay off my convertible and credit cards
write a terse obit
that makes me sound glamorous and eccentric

depending on circumstances
the cops might be involved
and uncover some weird stuff
(nothing too weird
but you know
don’t be alarmed if they do)
but forget that too

the best
version of me
and imagine it all
in that cigar box
which is like
exactly the size
for the best parts of me

Regular Poem: Just How Many Garages Does a Girl Need?

4 Feb

well you see
the one is attached to the house
and it’s a two-car number
packed with ancient mechanical devices
and tools and dead appliances
weird old-timey chemicals
a bag of birdfeed from that time i had a cockatiel for a few months
home to a heavy bag
and a crummy radio leftover from a former roommate
a vindictive former housecat

and the other
is detached
also two-car
but much larger
to accommodate an RV
that it no longer accommodates
but don’t worry
there’s plenty in there
extra tables and chairs
file cabinets and abandoned projects
three badminton sets two bicycles two hammocks
shelves and shelves and boxes and boxes
a metal detector
a cabinet record player that doesn’t play records but collects dust and plays am radio just fine
oh and also two cars

and of course a shed
a yard isn’t
a yard
without a shed
with at least three defunct mowers
and some antique cedar mulch

my concern is
how many cats
and other creatures
have taken up residence
in the detached garage
since my ex-cat escaped
the attached garage
and darted around my property for a few days
and showed her face in the detached garage long enough
for me to take pity on her
and move her food and water dishes out there
only for her to
zip in the back door of my house
as if she owned the place
and demand food at her spot
on top of the dryer
which is close enough to
the attached garage
for me to have thrown her back in
the attached garage
knowing she probably wouldn’t escape again
because she was probably already pregnant
enough to satisfy her?

i ought to move that cat food
i ought to
do a lot of things

raze it
salt the earth
change my name
skip town

“why yes
miss doe
this houseboat comes fully furnished
with third-hand furniture in dark neutral colors
the record player doesn’t play records
but it picks up am radio swell
and a houseboat isn’t
a houseboat
without wood paneling”

i unclench my fists and look
at my real estate agent
in my new town
and the words slip out

“but what about the garage situation”

she checks her clipboard

“could i interest you
in a storage unit”

i should’ve
practiced but i didn’t
so i say
on instict

“like a fresh one
with nobody else’s stuff
in it already”

she sees
my accidental sneer of

“that’s the idea
miss doe”

deal breaker
deal maker
i can’t discern

Regular Poem: Secret Agents

19 Apr

Seeing a diner waitress
outside her diner
in civilian clothes
no make-up
hair down

is worse

than seeing a teacher
at the grocery store


“Hey Mrs. Johnson–
it’s me
3rd period!
was the capital I couldn’t remember
on the quiz!
How’s the cat you always reference
in your powerpoints?”

That’s weird
but organic.

“Oh hey
It’s me
black coffee
yard bird special
boston cream pie
but if you don’t have that
How’s your step-dad’s grave
that I overheard you
talking to another table about
one time?”

Ultra weird.
Too intimate
yet bizarrely removed
from anything close to

It’s better
to accidentally meet
at the gas station ice machine
and share that eye contact
that says
“I know your face,
but I will not speak of it.”

There’s something furtive, tense
as if you know each other
from something unseemly,
but before
you can mumble code words
there’s the realization,
and it’s a relief
and a strange shared burden,
and you nod quickly
and head toward
your next mission.

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