Dennis Gulling: Six Poems

Garbage Man

It was Bobby’s first day
As a garbage man
He asked his partner Hugh if
He’d ever found any dead bodies
In the dumpsters
Hugh looked sideways
Flashed his big brown teeth
And said no but
Once I found
A dog’s head in a paper bag
It was fresh
No worms or flies
I stuck it on my fist
And hung my arm out the window
At people on the street
Going bow wow
You assholes
Bow wow



There’s a man on tv screaming
At me about a
Special offer
Limited time only
Not sold in stores
Operators are standing by
But I must act now
The tv looks like
A cage he wants to escape
I turn it off
To lock him in


Jane Doe

The state police found her
Doing a little dance
At the side of the interstate
She was probably in her late teens
Or early twenties
Had hazel eyes
Short brown hair
Wore a ratty print dress
No shoes
Wouldn’t talk
Just bit her lower lip
And looked down a lot
She didn’t carry any i.d.
Just a wolf’s paw
In a paper bag
She liked
To rub it on her face
And growl


The Flood Dream

In his dream
He’s sitting in a rowboat
In the middle of a flood
The water is very cold and very dark
He can’t see anyone in any direction
Just treetops and roofs
Pieces of furniture floating by
He looks into the water
And notices something white
It comes closer to the surface
And he sees a girl’s face staring at him
Her lips are parted slightly
Almost smiling
Her eyes are half closed
Red hair floats around her face
He reaches out to touch her
But she starts to inch away in the current
Lingers a moment
And then she’s gone
He sits up straight
And stares out across the water
He hears thunder in the distance
And that sound becomes her name


How I Lost $10

Bill Quincer banged on
My back door with a towel
Wrapped around one hand
Said he’d cut off
A finger with his band saw
And wanted me to drive
Him to the hospital
On the way over
He took a bloody handkerchief
From his shirt pocket
Held up the finger
And said
What’ll you give me
If I walk into the emergency room
With this thing up my nose?


Girl on the Hood of a Camaro

He saw her in the parking lot
When he was going
Into Carmen’s Liquors
She was sitting
On the hood of a black ‘69 Camaro
White leather skirt
Up to her hips
Yellow blouse cut low
She couldn’t have been
More than 17
She was blowing bubble gum
And combing her bright blond hair
Staring at nothing
He watched
For almost a minute
Then went in to do the job
Pulled a .22 on the clerk
And told her to open the register
The clerk came up with a gun of her own
So fast he didn’t know what happened
She put a bullet point blank
In his chest
And he went down
In front of a rotating wine cooler display
People started peeking in through the windows
But keeping low
When they saw the clerk standing
Over the body
They came in for a closer look
Pretty soon there was a crowd
Around the front of the store
And the police started pouring in
But the girl still sat
On the hood of the
Camaro blowing bubbles
Still staring at nothing
In the red glow
Of the police lights
It looked like she was
Combing blood from her hair
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