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Sport 27: Spring 2001

Blues for the life that was almost mine

page 130

Blues for the life that was almost mine

I was born in Virginia. From my adoptive father, a judge whose verdicts
were blackened by bribery, I learned to chew tobacco leaves
and to reach the spot where girls' spines end.
One night I stole the Chevrolet keys and I drove her
to Atlanta. I lived in the car and at nights, on the back seat springs,
I folded the cloths to pillow size. Once, when they caught
me urinating near the wheels and fined me 50 dollars, I told the judge
that the sky is the ceiling and the back bumper is the toilet.
One day my legitimate father showed up at the restaurant
where I worked. He looked at me,
and I sewed eyes in a magical needle that I always kept
in the pocket of my longing,
if this story were not real, it could have been planted
in a Johnny Cash song, but I, who brushed my teeth
five times a day to remove the tobaccos stains, vomit all
the Johnny Cashs into the same bowl in which I vomit Virginia.
‘Where will the bomb fall,’ sings Roger Waters
in the tape cassette player and I begin to understand
that one cannot erase the Tommy gun from one's memory
that my adoptive father kept in the drawer.
No cloud had blackened
or fallen
in this poem. I was then
the philosopher of pouring the coffee
moment at a motel
where the blonde waitress wants
to drown with you in a pile of sugar.
Why do you wear a bra, I once asked someone like this,
and she said that her breasts, like my life, are a fist
which is better off concealed in a glove.