3 Poems by Gary Lark

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3 Poems by Gary Lark

You can take them into the woods.
You can take them on the four lane.
You can wrap them in sheets
and throw them in a pit
where the snakes of your childhood
writhe and threaten.
You carry them to the jungle
or the desert or a mud house
where the people want to kill you.
You come home
and run down streets
hoping you can outrun them
but there is a swarm following you
and they can fly faster than you can run.
It doesn’t matter if one dies
there are always more.
You speed up, you slow down.
You’re just another joker
looking for a way to kill
them fucking bugs.

2:30 a.m.
There is no festival,
no party, no celebration.
No, this is a night-watch
two-thirds to five-fifths drunk.
Bars closed, we meet at the Pine Café
across from the shuttered mill
and lean on our separate stools
toward greasy hash browns
and coffee we hope will float us
to a room where the past is dead
at least for an hour or two.
Some search the dark for a face
that will still the loneliness,
sculling a river of wine,
shouting to the echoes.
Some will lie in the car seat
in a ditch
on the way somewhere,
too cold to live
warm enough not to die.

Long Haul
I trucked lettuce from SoCal,
broccoli and artichokes
from up the valley.
I shunted grunting pigs
and strung-out cattle,
all scream and shit,
to slaughter houses
on the back side
of white picket fences
and clapboard dreams.
I ran tons of soybeans
to bins big as hotels,
left them like marbles
in gutters along the way.
Apples and corn,
cold beer and fish,
you name it I hauled it.
Last nine years it was
people’s furniture
in an orange rig
stuffed to the gills.
The only thing I haul now
is my ass to the grocery store.


Gary Lark’s work includes: “Without a Map,” Wellstone Press, 2013, “Getting By,” winner of the Holland Prize from Logan House Press, 2009 and three chapbooks. His work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, Hubbub, Poet Lore, and The Sun. Three poems were featured on The Writer’s Almanac with Garrison Keillor.

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