Bio Note: I am an occupational therapist who lives with my wife Renee in Baton Rouge, LA Our favorite place is the patio which backs up to the rest of the world. My most recent book, My Life in Cars, is a tell-all tale of the checkered romance between freedom and the American highway. These poems are from the book.
Black-eyed Susans, a Stallion, Crows
If God wanted to crush, then revive a man would he put him in a Corvair as a tree-twisting wind whistled up and down the road to Naperville? Would he make the man fly through predawn murk on Goodyear tires with a V-6 behind him where the trunk should be and at an hour when only farmers were up to lumber toward barns? The fox was nearby startling creek-side creatures with its nimble weave, field mice nosed under wheat, snakes slunk and the crows – well they never close both eyes anyway because death and hunger never rest. Would God also have let posts rot in the corner of a field where wind knocked down an ash so that a black stallion could mince over barbed wire fallen face down into black-eyed Susans and milkweed, so a stallion could graze roadside, then trot into headlights? The man at the wheel whistled with that wind. He had left his house of five children, the wife who had grown tired of his agitations. Whether the man ever had an affair only he could really say but his wife saw signs enough to throw this up whenever they argued. The man’s eyes were still bleary when the Corvair took out the legs of the stallion. The full tonnage of the horse lifted to skid over the hood and half way through auto glass. The horse’s ribs cracked, metal cracked. Roof and framing broke downward to the man's forehead. All stops, cold, goes black as black wings. Except that the farmer now runs to the road. By the time officers arrive the farmer has the man propped against the car. Intermittently the man lifts a rag from his forehead to mop a blinding red flow. For days family and town’s-folk talk as if God had sent a dozen angels down at just the right instant to arrest that farmer’s horse where it lay on the front of the roof. My father walked away. My father came back home with broken ribs, superficial cuts, a very red shirt. I believe that whatever God is stayed, as always, in the depths of earth's core, the immovable mover, molten and remote to work his unfathomable math, the strict laws of his physics and a dizzying wonder using only the crows for his eyes.
Originally published in My Life in Cars
Go, Just Go
The summer my sister Clare got home from four years in a liberal arts curriculum at the University of Budweiser, I had a driver’s license and a job at the county airport. Seated on top of a tractor in 85 degree heat, I mowed huge swaths of Indian grass, wild rye, thistle. Mice, rabbits darted, pheasants shot up as my beastly John Deere cast its shadow and shuddered along runways, cut a six-foot wide strip by quarter-mile-long strip seven hours a day. Those were the best Cokes, eight ounce bottles the gang boss ferried out at around 2 p. m. in a beat up Ford F-100 painted like a yam. Iced, shot-cold bottles tipped upside down. Run fast down a throat scratchy as hay under a sun that tried to teach me what it takes to be relentless, naked, generative without pause. Come Saturday Clare and I, bored out of our ever-loving minds, would drive to auto lots along Ogden Avenue. Pretend we were in the market for this G. T. O., that crouching red Cougar. Fudds in starched shirts and a gas-cloud of spray-on deodorant would have to stuff their Playboys into side drawers, swing loafers down off the desk, toss on a lime and pumpkin, plaid sports coat. Then hoof it out into summer heat. After we gave them our licenses to hold, and fully against their better judgement, they grudgingly forked over keys to spanking new machines. Off we’d spin. Crank that radio. Find the Stones or ‘Reatha on there. “Goose it Clare! Give it something. See what’s under the hood.” Back then punks were made to go places. It was one way of telling ourselves we weren’t going to spend the rest of our lives tasting farm dust. So we flamed out large mazes around these lots. Circled them like we were buzzards floating high on top of fabulous fountains of wind over an endless range of mountains called future, called fate.
Originally published in My Life in Cars
©2021 Ed Ruzicka
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