Friday, October 22, 2010

Ron Riekki - Three Poems

True Story

When I first thought
of moving to New York
I couldn't even find
a parking spot.
I circled around the block
maybe five times,
the place where my friend
stayed, the NYU film student,
class salutatorian,
living in a closet,
literally. When I finally
found a spot,
I got out of the car
and saw a man
face down with blood
pooling around his mid-section.
I got back in the car
and drove back
to Michigan.

When I first thought
of moving to L.A.,
I got swallowed by America,
the tolls creating a poverty
that ensured I couldn't
go back. Nebraska alone
took two days, trapped
behind a semi
that refused to pass
a truck, as if he enjoyed
ensuring everyone behind him
would be late. I stopped
in Las Vegas and lost
three hundred dollars,
not in a casino,
but somewhere; somehow
it just disappeared,
not in my wallet.
When I got to the border
of L.A., what I assumed
was the city, I had to piss
and was thirsty at the same time.
But the traffic at 3 a.m.
was crawling, two carcinogenic
madmen in a Honda Accord
next to me. We slowly passed
a trailer full of cars, all on fire.
The flames threw punches
at the sky. They didn't even
close down the road,
just let us pass, craning our necks,
breathing in a poison air
filled with nothing.

Ants Keep Biting Me

as I write this poem.
I jump up, shocked,
little pinches that surprise.
In Spain, my apartment
had cockroaches--agile,
brown, light. They could fly.
When you turned on the light,
the walls moved. You'd blink
and they'd be gone. Magic.
But the ants here, they're slow,
stupid, dedicated, like British
soldiers walking in rows
during the American Revolution.
But there are so many of them
that they own the apartment
forever. They take pleasure
in keeping me awake,
not allowing my mind
to ever focus on this poem,
to always think of them.
I'm practicing Zen.
One day I'll forget them;
their bites will be welcomed.
There goes another one
right there, on my hip.

She Would Like if I Wrote a Poem About Her

She has three daughters
from two men I don't know.
The first time we kissed
it was in the front seat
of my Chevy Impala.
Then we looked at the water
of Lake Superior through
the steamed up window.
When I took her home,
she said she wished we'd met
ten years ago. I know,
I said. And when I drove home,
the streets were empty
like I'd suddenly entered
into a zombie film.
And when I got home,
my parents were sleeping
and I went down in their basement
and wrote this poem,
because I didn't know what else to do.

Ron Riekki's novel U.P. was published by Ghost Road Press. It's been one of their top ten bestselling books for 84 weeks and counting, Gypsy Daughter Press published his chapbook Leave Me Alone I'm Bleeding and is set to publish another entitled Poems about Love, Death and Heavy Metal. He also wishes he was married.

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