At the tables, the waitresses
fuss too much. The moon eats
dinner at the bar. It orders
simple things that they can’t
screw up, wings or maybe
a burger. With its stony mouth,
the moon could eat the whole wing,
bones and all, but it doesn’t.
It piles the bones up.
It likes the drunks that drink
in day’s fat middle. It likes
Chris, the bartender.
He’s high most of the time
and doesn’t forget their conversations.
He starts up where they left off.
The moon is pissed that the pub
is closing. It’s pissed
that the landlady tripled the rent.
This is the only bar the moon
goes to. It doesn’t know
what it will do. The moon loves
the fireplace, because, sometimes,
when it isn’t full, it gets cold
and lonely. It hates
love poems. It has learned
to forget. Just once, the moon
would like to have another drink
and be late for work without
everyone acting as though
the world had come to an end.
Store 19, Flannery Road
If love were the first job,
you were the hot grease,
the bubble and rush when the frozen fries
were lowered in the wire basket.
You were the salt cast against the unseasoned.
You were the sizzle of meat singing
when I pressed down with the searing tool.
You were the feather-light
flakes of reconstituted onions.
Leaving you was entering
the dark of the walk-in cooler.
O shed polyester and animal fat smell!
How quiet a world it was
when we thought your parents asleep,
my hand finally on your breast.
How polite your father was
in his underwear and t-shirt,
when he expelled me
that first time from Paradise.
A double wide in a horse pasture, fallen apart at its seam, the long empty halves of a dried seed pod, two horses watch my train as it passes, a third turns her back, a vulture spins above some other death a few fields over, an adobe church sinks into the crumbling hillside, a ravine full of beer and whiskey bottles, the sound an empty one makes when it hits the glitter at the bottom, a virgin with binoculars, the pie tins tied to branches, the bright yellow house where nobody says what they think unless they are drunk or dying, the six foot gray satellite dish eavesdropping on the nothing piling up on the horizon, a wrung mandolin neck, a radio in the kitchen, the sound of dishwater over the phone when your mother calls, the heard but unseen sirens of the chase on the edge of town, the memories like playing cards thrown into a hat, flash of suit and number, the leer of royalty, the electrical storm of love cracking sideways in our brains and the mess running down our legs, the little creek that floods once a decade. I am to hold my place here as long as I can. Some books explain the why so well, I almost believe it.
I Am Not a Funeral Home.
I am not the last old house
standing in a decaying downtown.
Don’t knock on my door like a sad movie.
I am not a place that you are too familiar with.
I am not full of cheap antiques trying to make you forget
that awful things happen in a back room.
I am not full of unmentionable plumbing.
The only dead people I keep are writers,
spines out, upright on my bookshelf.
I don’t have a piano in the corner. I don’t fill the air
with somberness unless I’m drunk and alone.
I am not trying to make you remember anything.
I am not an acceptable place to let go your held tears.
I am not the logical conclusion from a season of suffering.
Nor am I a nervous white pigeon pacing a cage
Or a handful of soul colored balloons awaiting escape.
I am not a funeral home.
I know you know I am terrible at goodbyes.
I keep everything barely alive.
JASON PRIMM was born in Tennessee and had his formative years in Louisiana. He now lives in Brooklyn with his wife and two daughters in a small apartment by a big park. When he isn’t working or writing, he can be found sharpening his slice backhand. His work has most recently appeared in Juxtaprose Magazine, Palaver, Bridge Eight, Rust + Moth, Jelly Bucket, and The Southern Humanities Review. He maintains a blog at jasonprimm.wordpress.com.