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5 Poems by Gary Bloom

The Killer
by Gary Bloom

The last time I saw him he
Was at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans
A hot spring day at the Fair Grounds
A black piano in a muddy field
With Jerry Lee Lewis pounding the keys
Like his life depended on it.

A bottle of beer was up there
On the piano, like a candelabra
Between songs he would
Take a swig or two
Do a little dance
And get back to work,
The beer a metaphor
For hard living and wild women,
The piano on its last legs
Getting pounded to death.

Missed Exit
by Gary Bloom

After twenty years of driving
The same road to the same job
I wonder what it would be like
To keep going on I10
West, all the way to California.
What would it have been like
To have lived out there, say
San Diego. Would I have
Married a Mexican girl?
Would I have kids?
What would it have
Been like if just
Once I missed exit 53
And kept going on I10
Through New Orleans, through
The Texas hill country
And the Arizona desert
All the way to the blue Pacific.
What would that have been like?

Airmen At The Mall
by Gary Bloom

They walk in pairs
One wingman, the other
Leading the way.
They are fresh out of Keesler
And look to be about twelve.
In their bus driver blue uniforms
They could be headed
For the Catholic high school.
But here they are
At the Biloxi Mall
Loading up on pizza
At the food court
A world away
From what awaits them.

Drinking in a Black Bar in Mississippi
by Gary Bloom

I don’t know why I’m here
I should be home by now
My white wife waiting
But I wanted to stop for a drink
After a rough day at work
And not talk, not be judged
So I stopped at this bar
Hidden back along a dirt road
And drank quietly
Until I ran out of money
And then some old black guys
Bought me round after round
Never asking why I was here
Why I was white
And they were buying me drinks
Why they were black
And they were buying me drinks.

by Gary Bloom

Another tooth cracked
I cannot help
My tongue going there
Wanting to have a look see
Like staring at a bad accident.

The tongue magnifies
The fissure into a canyon.
I am losing my teeth
By inches, my mind
By degrees.

I will make an appointment
Tomorrow, the gentle southern
Dentist will patch what’s
Left of me.
I will drive away happy
The tires of my car
Cracking over the gravel drive
Looking for accidents.

Gary Bloom has been writing articles, poetry and short stories for more than 20 years, with credits in Breath and Shadow, American Visions, The Educated Traveler, Milwaukee Magazine, Grit, Black Diaspora and other magazines, websites and newspapers. He grew up in Minneapolis and now lives in Pass Christian, Mississippi.

(I’d like) to Kill
Cocktail Revolution