Third cousin, once removed – Patrick Bower

I don’t even remember his name,
just the tough way he shifted gears,
how his braces made him look wise.

I was only in town for two nights,
but he wanted to show me all the spots,
take me cruising with the boys:

Once we hit the town square,
that’s where the girls are
and everybody’s tricked-out rides,
undercar lights, bass and—

His souped-up Impala had a boxy custom body,
a sullen jaw line, tinted glass and a matte finish.

you crack the window like this so
they kin just see the rim of yer cap.

He pointed with the cigarette
clenched between his teeth.

But first there’s a crick up here
with a bridge we can jump.

The road straightened out; he gunned it.
A blur of corn stalks gave us blinders.

Last time, got all four
wheels up—fuckinflyin.

Large subwoofers mounted in particle board cabinets
transmitted otherworldly vibrations through seat backs.

I could see the bridge now.
It looked sort of home-made.
Later that night, I would get
booze-spins for the first time.

I thought: If no girls are here to see—does it count?

I thought: This engine is way too big
as it popped and grunted inches from our guts,

promising a few seconds of freedom,
weightlessness above an unlit country road,

the soybean fields watching us warily,
awaiting their turn at the thresher.

 

Patrick Bower lives in New York City, where he writes copy for a living. His poems now or soon will appear in FigRoot Press, Wu Wei Fashion Mag, The Corner Club Press, 805 Lit, Sheila-Na-Gig, Lit.cat, and New York Dreaming.

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