A Bundle of Poems from jck hnry

jck hnry, Poetry

pleased to meet you  

and the Uber driver stares at me 

through a rear-view mirror 

cocked at an angle that catches 

my bruised smile and bloodied skin. 

i tip him for his silence on 

a phone only recently acquired. 

dawn has just caught the tip 

of the eastern horizon and  

strips of light wrap like fists 

around minions frozen in place. 

he drops me at the doorstep 

of my dominion where saints 

and sinners all refuse to 

call my name. 

wont you guess my name  

we sit at a long counter 

waiting on coffee and sandwiches, 

halfway between Tulsa 

and North Ohio. 

waitress named Bambi 

sets a chipped plate of 

eggs and bacon in front of me. 

a woman i met in Denver 

sips at a glass of tea. 

outside, the bus driver 

checks engine lights, 

smokes a cigarette and 

talks into a cell phone. 

it’s Tuesday and i’ve miles to go. 

i fuck Denver in 

a bathroom stall, 

make it back to the bus 

with minutes to spare. 

Denver sits in the back, 

i’m up front, 

talking to another soul 

that just got on board. 

bus stop  

i sit next to him 

at a bus stop 

in a part of town 

i don’t often go, 

summoned by impulse  

or instinct. 

i do not know. 

his large red nose 

is smudged and dirty. 

his rainbow hair 

tattered and askew. 

make-up smeared by sweat 

and tears. 

he holds a bloodied 

kitchen knife in his right hand. 

nothing in the left, 

as the arm is  

no longer there. 

we sit a long while. 

he does not speak nor 

turn my way. 

bats flitter about in the high trees 

searching for gnats and mosquitos. 

a bus finally stops 

and he stands. 

as the door whisks open. 

the bus driver says, hello, your fare’s 

been paid. 

the clown glances over his shoulder,  

one foot 

on the bus,  

the other rests on the street. 

we’ll see you soon, he says. 

real soon, chimes the bus driver. 

nigh  

old scratch likes to sit with me 

in the morning, before the sun 

begins to peak 

through broken curtains. 

he whispers in my ear, 

makes lurid suggestions, 

points out toward a dark shadow 

clinging atop low hills covered 

in bramble and brush. 

as my day begins, he takes his leave, 

clambers back aboard a blue municipal bus. 

all his friends are there to greet him. 

he looks back and smiles, 

your time is nigh, my friend. 

your time 

is nigh. 

Dairy Queen  

i used to go out into the desert 

to yell at god and some of his disciples. 

when i met him at a Dairy Queen in 

Syracuse, New York after my favorite 

cousin’s funeral, i stopped. 

he serves ice cream cones and Blizzards 

with flair and a fair amount of ineptitude. 

no one seems to mind. 

when my turn comes, he asks about the yelling 

and screaming, out in the desert. 

gobsmacked and stammering, a fat kid 

behind me screaming hurry up to which  

i finally reply: fuck off

god smiles politely, hands me my cone, 

and change, and says, you know i sometimes think 

the same thing. 

pain  

the stench 

of your dying 

lifts 

through aged 

floorboards 

as wings 

of dark 

angels 

flutter through 

night skies. 

a single 

shot cries 

out. 

no one 

will hear 

the last 

rasping 

breath 

that 

tumbles 

from  

your mouth.