PULP FICTION
PULP of the MONTH

About the Author

Three Poems

Rusty Barnes is a poet, writer and editor in Revere MA. He grew up in the foothills of the Appalachians, where he developed a taste for the Romantics, which led him everywhere else eventually. He coedits Live Nude Poems with his wife, the poet Heather Sullivan. You can find him on Twitter @rustybarnes23

JESUS IN THE GHOST ROOM

Nixes Mate Books



1979 TRIP TO CHERRY FLATS: A DREAM

We will not stop to piss, what's your twenty,
my brother-in-law says over the CB,

cutting past the traffic barricade,
and somebody up ahead says stop,

Smokey on the main drag like
the movie. I am riding bitch

in his Super Bee struggling
to stay level with no seatbelt.

I am 10 and scared shitless,
as I know the tires are bald

because we are all piss-poor,
and the exhaust is loud as

the wheels spit gravel down
the dirt road and I pray to a God

I don't know yet that I survive
to get back to my GI Joe dolls.

We slalom around a tight curve,
my head bangs against my sister's

shoulder. The brakes lock. I decide
in that moment If I live to see

the end of this shit-assed day,
I'm going to become a minister.




SHOOTING STAR

The sky doesn't matter, nor the flash we see
skittering across it like a knock-kneed roan.
What matters is the cute dress you're wearing,

my hand high on your hard little hip
and the freshet of freckles across your face,
the prevailing sense of summer at night,

how the billion stars wink out and die
and re-bear themselves like the tiny
fissuring atoms they are

and how we sit here, old of the universe,
staring up and making wishes and talking
like adults one to the other on the back

deck except you are ten and I am not
and these tiny moments will soon be gone
whether I can bear thought or not,

and that will have to be OK. I will
have to be OK. The world remains.
And I hold your slippery hand

as you and your youth rush away
to join the universe.




IN MY FATHER'S LABYRINTH

In the labyrinth of the elders
called Hall of the Dead, where the deckled

skins of raccoons stretched
on their racks for drying

and the ink-black barrel of oiled
dye lay roiling, two muskrat

skins stood chastened against their
cooling boards, the stink

of wet skin and the curse of father tongue
held over every thing like a pall

over a lich-yard,
such was my father's camp to me,

where he would boil traps and knife
the grimy flesh from the fur for sale to men who

stank of rubber and cheese
with the bones of nameless animals

under their hatbands.
I spoke here in doleful tones, dirt under

my nails and sweat in my pits
learned how to huh and swagger my way

through conversations
how to hock a loogie six feet away

and never reveal how it bruised my lips
on those rare occasions my father kissed me.



Copyright © 2021 Rusty Barnes.

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Nixes Mate Books

Rusty Barnes

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