Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Three Poems by Richard Fein

Throwing Mother Out of the Car

The hypnotic mileposts muttered your getting sleepy, daydream sleepy.
I kept fidgeting and finally started banging the radio.
My reception had been poor since leaving home.
Then at 60 miles per, the dot ahead burst into a hitchhiker.
She was a tattooed highway princess
pasties for a blouse, a thong for pants
with a 69 porned all over her right arm.
Naturally, I stopped.
"Oh if only I could have gone full throttle with her!"
But I had for a moment forgot about mother always in the backseat.
She had been screaming in the back of my mind for decades
then and now.
"Never open the door to strangers, never! never!"
Nevertheless, I touched the handle and the door almost opened.
"Never open the door to strangers, never! never!"
Thus shrieked my daydream destroying mom.
My foot obediently pressed the pedal,
and wet dream lady quickly shrunk back into a dot,
every time I veer onto a road's soft shoulder.
With mom in back there can be no rest stop on a soft shoulder
as I pass all these mileposts,
almost but never quite throwing mother out of the car.

Counting Passing Blue Cars

He claimed it was his greatest poem.
He said he wrote it twenty years ago
and never again wrote its equal.
While he recited his once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece,
I counted blue cars passing by the cafe window.
I counted five.
I've never written a greatest poem or even a great one,
and never will.
I just keep writing the same poem over and over,
a hundred different ways.
How many ways in total, really?
Don't know, I lost actual count years ago,
far more than five though.
But he already wrote his greatest poem.
Poor soul what a disaster for him.
As for my greatest poem destined to be forever unequaled,
I must avoid it at all costs
for thereafter I'll be left with sipping stale coffee turned cold,
and staring out a cafe window counting passing blue cars.

Stranded on Optimist Freeways

Rancho Grande Estates, lower middle class dream.
But in a Nevada desert?  Who could sell such shacks?  And how?
Don't-worry-rest-assured TV pitchment pointing to glossy, slick photos
of factories, picket fence houses, shops, schools, facsimiles of decent paychecks--
and most of all by unabashedly vowing that all who signed on the dotted line
will never again be month-behind-the-rent tenants of landlords lording it all over them.
You, they were talking to you, and you.
Supposed big investors were backing your dreams with their millions.
But your dollars were also needed, your dollars and yours, and the dollars of all
who sit on threadbare couches watching those ads on already outdated TVs.
And roads were promised of course, asphalt ribbons binding together the like minded,
that were to exuberantly branch off the main road called Optimist Freeway.
That's what the promoters proudly named it, proclaiming--
America on the upswing, a rosy road to a two bedroom richer living--
before those pickpockets of trust were handcuffed and driven away in police vans,
claiming, of course, to be innocents being railroaded to jail.
Yet Optimist Freeways do exist--on ever map of the world,
well-paved tenth-of-a-mile tempting starts,
with convincing road signs pointing "this way to blue collar El Dorado,"
and then turning into bumpy gravel roads petering out into an anywhere Nevada desert,
where hopeful pilgrims both brash and wary are stranded in the sand,
at dead ends of bone-dry tumbleweeds, bristling cacti, and desiccated desecrated dreams.

Richard Fein was a finalist in The 2004 New York Center for Book Arts Chapbook Competition.  A Chapbook of his poems was published by Parallel Press, University of Wisconsin, Madison.  He has been published in many web and print journals such as Cordite, Cortland Review, Kind of a Hurricane Press, Reed, Southern Review, Roanoke Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mississippi Review, Paris/atlantic, Canadian Dimension, Black Swan Review, Exquisite Corpse, Foliate Oak, Morpo Review, Ken*Again, Oregon East, Southern Humanities Review, Morpo, Skyline, Touchstone, Windsor Review, Maverick, Parnassus Literary Review, Small Pond, Kansas Quarterly, Blue Unicorn, Exquisite Corpse, Terrain, Aroostook Review, Compass Rose, Whiskey Island Review, Bad Penny Review, Constellations, The Kentucky Review, and many others.

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