Two Poems
Jason Stocks


Something breathes fire in the center of all of us.
After and during long days that bring bills and aches.
If my pickup makes it to the corner store you and I
might have a cold beer and head-cheese sandwich later

and not much else. Maybe the phone will
ring but that’s a big maybe and someone’s
certainly in charge of stuff like that. A small
gaseous thing that has mass and comes from nothing.

I’m courting a quart of Jack and it’s splashing
and I got a bad taste and worse

it feels right. Can feel pressure
in a place that only usually speaks to me
when the pup’s having a nipping fit
with his new back teeth and I’m out of cigs.

Really, I haven’t smoked one in two years
but I’d give a limb to have one here, now.

When our boots are thick with mud
and walking seems like the worst idea
let’s off to the pond and fish that shit away.
I’m stupid, you say. And say, there’s tomatoes on the sandwich

which makes me swell and itch and I want
a fucking cigarette so bad I can feel fists
balling up in my throat and wanting to go upside
someone’s head or worse. I don’t know.

Maybe fishing ain’t such a great idea either.

her, just then

Stared at the sun so long I can’t see well. A haloed visage approaches. It’s
a he. His mouth is open. He tells me lies about the future and walks away.
It’s strange to be haunted by spirits so early in the day. We’re in the epoch
of what the ancients predicted would be our lot. Lots of technological
advance but not a lot of evolution towards us all being mothers and safe.
When we walk we walk alone. Nobody out there has an ever after machine.
The gears of which would grind me to bits. I read Gilgamesh and think
of Ishtar sending beings from other worlds to kill him for passing on her goodies.
To be alive is to be adaptable and clean, to have your own heat, spin and focus.
To be clean is to shave all thoughts of being, and be okay with being a failure.
To be king, is to be wizened and gray in your mind and fists. A smile is worth
more than a bucket of catfish after a hurricane in a town you were only
visiting, during spring or summer break, when safe sex and shit are of
no consequence to the thirsty soul what drives and beckons us toward
immortality, grief, history, muscadine-wine, and her.