Rob Plath: Three Poems

a good raw poem

a good raw poem
is much needed
at times
of literary freeze
it’s a zippo lighter
flame on high
beneath the frozen
sack of black juice
in yr torso
it’s a keg tap
on yr spleen
don’t ever fucking knock
the good raw poem
one day when
yr literary
is full
of cataracts
you’ll scream for
the edge of
a good raw poem
to slide across
yr corneas
let some goddamn
light in


the temper

once when i was eight
my father was driving us
to long beach to visit
some aunts and uncles

it was a hot june morning
when we got to the town.
my father stopped at a bakery
to get a box of pastries

as we pulled away from the curb
a man cut us off

my father zoomed thru cars
to catch up to him
he pulled right next to the man
at a red light
& asked my mother to roll
the window all the way down
then he screamed over her,
“i’ve got kids in the backseat,
you stupid fuck. i’ll get out
& break yr fucking head
open, you motherfucker!”
the guy kept his head straight
and didn’t look over

we were all silent

the light changed & my father
punched the gas pedal
& the car
jumped forward



i read a bukowski letter where he said that
he had 6 teeth extracted that same day
one of them being a tough motherfucker to pull
poor bukowski at 45, sitting at the rattling typewriter
w/ 6 empty sockets like bullet holes screaming in his skull
& tonight i imagine those half-dozen busted teeth
i imagine cupping them in my palms & listening to the click
of chips of bone as i shake them together
i feel terrible pain & wonderful luck tonight, bukowski
i feel the beautiful ancient roots in my hands

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