three poems by M. Bartley Seigel

Ain’t Nobody Goin’ to the Dairy Queen

In the shadow of the sawmill, of the chemical
plant, of the grain silo, of the potato barn, in the
mud, in the mind – shout, bellow, borrow, steal,
testify! Get a belt, get a switch, knock heads,
black an eye, puke blood, froth and seethe.
The gnashin’ of false teeth. Save me, Lord!
On a three wheeler, buried under Old Style,
a man can in one hand, a child in the other –
a pig fucker, a dirt farmer, a dirt ass. Slipshod,
snot nosed, pinch lipped and puckered
mouthin’ Bible bangin’, face punchin’, crank
smokin’ truck stop whores puttin’ pistols
to their heads, puttin’ shotguns in their mouths,
rollin’ hoses from pickup tailpipes, neither runnin’,
neither feared – never mind. Pounding ham handed
against the glass, For the love of Christ,
get that balloon out your mouth like I told you
or ain’t nobody goin’ to the Dairy Queen.

Out Back the Trailor

It hurts, this walking, weeping wound,
this cleaning up with whiskey,
this burning what’s left in the fifty gallon can.
The draw between is slow and tight – keep it
close, shut, together, keep it in the family.
Like your mouth. Like your mind.
Like bleeding a pig, or bad blood.

Fatboy, 1982

Fatboy’s survival knife is the only one
he’ll need to make it in the wilderness
and he’s been at the saplings with it all day,
carving spears, cat ears nestled like raisins
in the hollow handle under the compass.
A white eyed, shirtless, whirling violence
scratching its balls and sniffing its fingers,
Fatboy calls you fag and ragged fucking cunt
and takes his stitches silently in the kitchen
with a sewing needle and a cigarette lighter.


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