Thommy Ahneesan: Three Poems

Horse Girl

To commandeer a body, sure
it is our tradition.

To leave the body
you worshiped
in the hospital
wandering through
of sleeping,
near-death babies
searching with neon eyes
for the right baby
on water balloon
stumps without sandals
those, too, were stolen
among all the rest you took before

I was

What was that casual day
like for you at home?

What kinda sandwich
would you hafta eat
to swallow
all youve done
to make me dead?

How many Midwestern souls
smashed between wonderbread?

Shout out to the whole barn
sacrificed to satisfy the salty
urge to devour
something caged
from frantic rattle
to quiet bone.

How much Black Velvet?
to swallow it down
how many days
of young and unknown
vagina does it take
to get to the center
of your indifference

how many words will you
use on God
when she meets you
in the robes of a small town
municipal judge
just to stand the sight of her,

to explain
how there are no tears
over your ruddy red cheeks
your bald head shines
with victimhood
too red and too tight
like someone selling
dip dyed carnations
that no one wants.

A failed clown crying
on the wrong corner

if Atlantic City
could be even worse

if an Evergreen could
outroll a dust cloud

in a race for pity.

Won’t you, please?
Buy these?

To buy your sad story
would cost nothing more
than a pair of underwear.

Then you shove her
shove her full
of ordinary money

nothing fabulous
a place to live
groceries and booze

and there she is,
a possible sister
do you see her?

I do.

She hates
your sheets
She hates
Your beard,
that oil of Spruce
Your “dad” jokes
but you are no father

—there are horses
running inside of her

they want loose.

When freedom
like a house
and a man
and a one shot
Costco shopping spree abyss:

then the horse has gone mad

please God, shoot her,
but miss.

The sound alone
will set her free.


Creek Baby

I have become
a fast moving
furious and fat
barraling thru halls
chewing on Adderall,
cuz, the exhaustion,
and clonazepam
for the terror.

The little blue boys
wake me up
but wasn’t I already

The white wafers,
a eucharist
but I haven’t I already
said thank you enough?

Now, with this rock in my fist
lurched over the first real creek
I have met since Iowa,
the pills lose their power.

This creek is legit.

It’s opalescent silt,
legacy sediment,
the kind that shines
& smells like good rot,
a bedrock of wish-pennies
from kids who acted like kids,
long gone now.

They were left way back in the 80’s
they are still building their dams
for no apparent reason.

I remember
that I used to be nimble.

God was I good
with a broken bridge.

Every stick I found
was just right
but for what purpose,
I never even wondered.

For five minutes
I forgot I had a child
inside, pressing her face
against the screen door,
she is learning to stand.

I dug
for more rocks
in the sand
it hurt
the new arthritis
in my hands
each knuckle
a hot little sun
I gave them back
to the little creek
one by one.

I remember
ambling home
with nothing left
from the long day alone
no one waiting for me
behind a screen door
my mouth wide open
a little bighorn
full of battles
I didn’t understand.

I remember
having nothing
but my own
clean blood,
creek water
whistling a tune
that only water knows
when it is happy
to simply
be moving
before someone
shuts its mouth.


River Dad

If I gave you
the Harley Davidson
of your dreams
you would outlive it.

It would be heavy
and its preference would be
to fall over to one side.

I wouldn’t ask you to care
for any more heavy bodies
inclined to falling.

God won’t let the world
make you into Dad Meat.

Not anymore.

We’re nearing the red ribbon.

The red ribbon.

The one you run through.

Not the Guillotine-

it won’t halve you horizontally
it will only separate you
from the running.

If I gave you a boat,
what could be more
Than a Navy boy
buoyant again?

Not Guantanamo-

you will not be asked
to trade Cuba
for a missile crisis,
a myth they tell
grown men at night
to sleep with one good
Iowa-eye open
hazel like the whole world
farmlands in your heart,
tremulous without wheat

—just like vitamins
must be taken with juice
a Sioux City boy
must be stirred
with raw cut wheat
and Missouri River water
in the mail-order juice glass
from the Kellogg’s cereal box.

Why didn’t they know that? Or care?

They stuffed you
into the guts
of a destroyer
gave you a hammer
and said, bang on this

they couldn’t know
you sang yourself to sleep
songs about birds
from your mama

praying that a missile
wasn’t shaped like a shark
with speed wobbles,
heading for the hull
blowing your good looks
again, into red ribbons.

You would outlive the boat.

But what about
a river?

If I gave you a river
and placed you
in a lawn chair
right at its bedside
when you outlived it,
you would simply
become it.


(These three poems are part of the debut collection by Thommy Ahneesan upcoming from Writ Large Projects)

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