All Green Thumbs You can trick a houseplant into believing it is outside by gently brushing your hand softly against the leaves bending the stems as if they are out in the breeze Strangers clustered in a strong wind at a stop waiting for the bus to come ____________________________ Battery Heaven Hard to tell batteries apart lying loose in a box in the back room The bad eventually crust over but there’s no way to determine the good without popping one then another into the remote Try a different pole Try rolling one then the other around with your thumb whatever it takes desperate for signal Get the angle right Get close enough & there is enough juice to get through tonight No negotiating with a spent cell but power predictions are possible & frequently wrong The pizza place in town that takes dead batteries has a slot in a 5 gallon bucket lid for them Who knows where they go from there Battery heaven is filled with cheapies that come with toys very obviously of lower quality than the ones bought at the store Do it wrong & kill a car The smoke detector cheeps until the corpse is removed Even the rechargeable don’t last forever ____________________________ My advice is to get out of this town before you turn 20 Otherwise the broken store fronts start to worry you You might transmogrify into a lamp post become a fixture around here Not like Gary who inherited the hardware from his dad George Bailey-ing his way through his 50s as girls softball coach & people love him More like Sandy who will never leave – there’s too much out there she wants & feels she doesn’t really deserve but there is always just a little less than what she needs right here It’s fine – it’ll be fine The train doesn’t publish it’s schedule so the terrorists can’t formulate a plan but it always seems to roll through right when you think maybe I shoulda left that one time & then it’s gone & the crickets return in the night certain everything will be just fine & it is, isn’t it? ____________________________ Our first date 1986 Took Mindy to see Platoon We both liked war movies Empty theatre perfect for making out except one angry vet sobbing down front in the horrible fog They killed the good guy is the only lesson learned Too stunned even to hold hands we liked it yeah – great film Barber’s Adagio for Strings swelling & enveloping me later when Mindy takes me into her mouth on a gravel road next to some field my hands clutching air just like Willem Dafoe ____________________________ Waiting for the future to arrive as advertised I hear a juvenile hawk in the dense canopy of the abandoned house across the street 1000 years wheel across the starry starry until something different happens & is it? Every hill is always the one we choose to die on My car narc’d on me now I’m too scared to drive killing machines with fascists Clock sounds digitized making “simmer down” motions with their useless hands Everything is late late late can’t happen soon enough Even waiting is a waste of time and energy in the midst of a long-haul dream Let us then toast to the ever-under-construction freeway & pour one out for all the dumb bugs wending wayward into death against the grills & shields of inevitability Waiting for the 20 years implicit in the next advance turn signal on too early been on the last 100 years I awake resembling something extinct & pissed off about it Not false Not spiritual Not grief Anticipation & the wearing down of might cliffs to something manageable A fun time on a wild ride left with penetrating desire to go go go again
Tony Brewer is a poet and foley artist from Bloomington, Indiana. he has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize and his latest book is Pity for Sale (Gasconade Press). He is executive director of the Spoken Word Stage at the 4th Street Arts Festival and co-producer of the Writers Guild Spoken Word Series. More at tonybrewer71.blogspot.com.