parts a beaded curtain, and I follow
into the Insomnia Café. At one table
lights a non filter cigarette. One day
told himself: I will go to India, and got
plane at Kennedy and flew there.
he land in Bombay, Calcutta, New Delhi?
is something we heard he did
he could, not a story people
to make him adventurous.
he might have smoked opium
a man who had a hook for a hand,
hook that extended from his right arm.
ask, Did you meditate in a temple?
your palm read? Ride an elephant?
across from him, we ask instead
he owns the trailer he lives in, he doesn’t.
ask about Roy Barr, Henry’s late friend,
was his eldest friend. In 1949 Roy
a trailer park in which a pit bull
to death a seven year old boy.
opens a silver case, offers Lorna
cigarette and with his short, square lighter
it. Roy spoke very briefly
the child’s death in the trailer park
Bastrop, Texas. It came up one day:
sat on a bench lacing his shoes
the locker room of a gym that’s now
building for social services. Henry’s
whose daughter lives in Barcelona,
to court, as the park’s owner.
Knives Lie on
lie on a table. I pick up a knife
carve in the table the words
love you and want to kill you.”
thoughts resemble knives,
dead birds on dry grass.
love you, and often I hate you.
thoughts resemble rags in a shed,
parakeets in a cage,
dead birds on dry grass
knifes on a table.
pick up a knife and in the dead
night I go to your carport,
stealthily, and slit your tires.
never do that to you
to anyone. Anyone who slits
tires is nuts,
is one step beyond
man such as I
people, dark thoughts
be loving or spiteful.
been stung by a dark thought,
by a dark thought, fooled,
saved. Dark thoughts are thorns.
36, 000 feet. Clumps
dirt thrown on a casket,
gravediggers’ boots, the shined shoes
scarves pulled out of a top hat.
Hackensack, she might
in with the wrong crowd, somebody says.
thoughts are the wrong crowd.
the flood, the fire
toaster, the microwave, the TV.
digging into the back of a neck.
cards and mirrors in storage,
in a garden,
in a shoebox on a shelf,
in a jar and old love notes.
thoughts are love notes to
signs on the highway.
thoughts sing of the day
right and wrong days, the quiet
the dark ones.
Slow Summer Night
behind the counter,
Come n Go,
as he pays for gas and tells her
face is interesting. “I’m Bob.”
else can he tell her?
wonders if they’d like each other.
the beginning of restlessness and
leads to house painting,
moving furniture and,
they say in Australia, the spinning of
gives him his American Express,
her hand to his hand,
nothing about Doubt,
is what this town is called,
lawn of Johnson grass and weeds,
high rate of teen pregnancy,
alongside the football field.
out of love, she rode a Greyhound
thousand miles to her sister’s
he said. “I’m Bob.”
reads—Man Sucked Out of Somali
After Inflight Explosion.
killed himself only, the Record reports,
injuring two others. Somali
unclasps a barrette.
hair falls to her shoulders. Outside,
Taurus pulls away,
a swirl of exhaust in the dark.
Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea,
Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County
Museum Press. He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.