Truck Poem

The other night at the Heyde Center I explained that over the years I have developed two groups of friends: The pickup-truck-and-gun-rack crowd, and the artist/dancer/poet crowd (or, the pale-and-tortured contingent).  They need not be mutually exclusive, but often are.  This is a shame, as both continue to enrich my life in ways I never dreamed.

Anyways.  (As we say in pickup-truck circles.)

Way back when I first started going to poetry readings, I wrote a poem in which I tried to explain to my new poet friends why I so loved the pickup-truck-and-gun-rack life.  I performed it the other night at the Heyde Center and a few people have asked if it’s in print anywhere.  It’s not.  As poems go it’s not much of one, but it’s a blast to perform out loud.

So I’ve posted it after the break.

Making New Friends

I heard that, you
trench-coatin’ word weasel.

I’ll redneck yuh.

You talkin’ to a
tractor pullin’
wine-women-n’songin’ jackpine gigolo, Jack.

Whatsamatter?  You look like you need your momma.
Or a latte.

I tell you what, you ding me like that again
you better stack your duds and grease your skids
‘cause I fully intend to lay some malice
on your palace.  You fool with the band wagon, buddy,
you gonna get hit with the horn.
Buddy, I will cloud up and rain down all over you,
I’ll drop you like chill shot down a well shaft,
I’ll bale you like hay, break you like a leg,
I’ll bend you like a note.  I’ll make you wail,
people think you Janis back from the dead.

See, you got to understand me.

Put down that bottle’a French-smellin’ swill you suckin’
c’mere n’take the keys to my truck.
That gimme-ten-acres-and-I’ll-turn-this-thing-around
’51 Binder, that bug-bustin’
pick’m up, stick’m up pickup
that ram-it-down-the-line
babe I-KNOW-I’m-lookin’-fine
double clutch n’grab yer guts
corn-haulin’ BIG IRON beast
and you rattle on off over the county line.

Aww, roll them windows down, buddy.  Way on down.
Stick ol’ Junior Brown in the tape deck.
You ever hear Junior bend the A string, Jack?
Make your kees leak.  Unravel your spine.
Play “Highway Patrol.”  Ol’ Junior get to whangin’ and bangin’
he’ll choke that guit-steel down like collard greens, Jack,
make it be-e-eg for mercy.  You look down, yer speedin’.

Take that woman a mine, Jack
My baby’s all hot oil and pistons
All headlights and custom trim
But you make a wrong turn, she’ll wreck ya

Take my coon dog, my howl at the moon dog,
take my bowlin’ trophy.
Take my chain start wallet, my wooden tulips
my car-up-on-blocks blocks, my bottle throttle,
take my Craftsman open-end-box wrench set,
metric and standard American,
take my Buck Owens box set, my Old Spice gift set,
my mudflaps, my you loot we shoot sign,
take it all, egghead,
and when you bring it back,
…tell me I ain’t livin’!

c. Michael Perry

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