When You Get Back Poem by Ryan David Grove


Lofty days of asparagus as green
As a station wagon.
Dust stinging through the windows
Broken farm equipment blending
With a rusty haze.
Throat all scratchy for change
For a pop machine.

It aint like it was back then
Riding between boredom
And afternoon, out-of-town sunshine whores!
Always moving in three’s
With itchy mosquito bites covering skinny
Little legs as fresh
As powdered sugar.
Pin-point tank-tops,
Bare feet
And a whole lot of nasty talkin’.

But it aint like that now. Not
With twelve or thirteen kids crawlin’ around.
That’s how it was !
Hell, I should know.
I’ve had four wives.
One was a mexican.
She cursed out nine of them suckers herself.
Nine. Hairy and tan.
I felt it was all up to me.

Jumpin’ out of planes.
Two years of my life,
A whole life-time in two years.
But that don’t mean shit when you get back.
They push you right…
Down doin’ the dishes.
Down in Arizona it’s all right.
It’s hot…
But it’s a dry heat.
Could be a hundred
But it feels like eighty-nine.
Sittin’ on the lawn
Chair with the legs up
Lookin’ up and over
After a while the telephone poles
Become picture frames
While the wires
Turn blue and invisible
Concrete becomes earth
Buildings and cadillacs
All that’s left
Is the screaming of the landscape
As it explodes
From the sky
Why, I’m a three-D motherfucker livin’ in a two-D

But that don’t mean shit when you get back.
They don’t talk to me for real.
They don’t even get mad.
The shelf life of my burning imprint on their brain
Lasts only as long
As I
Occupy the majority of space
In their scope

Now that’s how
But it’s a dry heat.
Could be a hundred
But it feels like eighty-nine.

Big Momma

One more day with all these kids
will kill me.
Can’t look.
Can’t talk.
Can’t think.
Can’t keep
doing it every day. But…
I got to.
I got to roll with the bunches
and bunches
of kids.

They drank up all of the milk
They’re too little to know
that more milk means
going out there
where the air
is thick
and cloudy
like cooking oil.
Each one of them
a french fry.
That makes me a baked potato.
The big momma hot potato.

Hell, half my money is pennies.
Half my car is rust.
I pried a piece of gum
sunbaked to a quarter in the ashtray
out with a butter knife.

C’mon you lucky ducky lotto ticket.
Give me a sun-shiney new car to wax.
Pull me out of my buckety junker
that farts forth exhaust forcing
every single head
in a two block radius
to stare at the beast
as it shudders and shimmies
around the corner
out of sight
gradually out of sound
and never
out of mind.

I’m not only too tired,
I’m too embarrassed.
But, I got to.
I got to go get milk.
all by my loathsome,
I rise to the occasion.