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“Fetish,” A Story by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Books, Creative Writing, Fiction, Humanities, Literature, Southern Literature, The South, Writing on November 2, 2016 at 6:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson

 

Amy Susan Wilson is author of Fetish and Other Stories, The Balkan Press, second edition, and of the forthcoming poetry collection Billy Ray. Her work has appeared in This Land, Southern Women’s Review, The Notebook, and elsewhere. She is Publisher, Red Dirt Press, LLC (www.reddirtpress.net) and Managing  Editor of Red Truck Review and Red Dirt Forum. A native Oklahoman, she holds degrees from The University of Oklahoma and Columbia University. Below is an excerpt from the second edition of Fetish and Other Stories.

It should have been a big clue that Jake had real-deal problems when I saw that his house was loaded up with pistols and too much toilet paper. You look in the kitchen cabinets for Campbell’s bean with bacon soup, some toothpicks or mustard, and all you see are those white rolls of Charmin. Try the screen behind the fireplace in the den—yep, loaded up with clean, dependable one-ply twenty-four packs.

Stupidly, I let all of this go.

I let it go that he had five cases of Charmin double rolls at the foot of his bed, brown bears dancing on each package as if in some state of religious ecstasy or just really glad to have their butts cleaned with something other than twigs and pinecones from the forest. Yes, I let all of this go.

Now the guns I understood. After all, Jake teaches gun safety protection at our Floyd Red River Technical College on I-40. And he is half owner of Jake and Pete’s Family Shooting Range just outside Floyd.

“These rifles, pistols, and such, are they loaded?” I asked the first time I went to his house.

“Just the ones I keep locked up in cases. All the guns in cases are kept in the hall closet or under my bed,” Jake assured. His hands were as thick as oak planks, his fingertips rough, calloused, as if he’d driven spikes into the railroad tracks during the nineteenth century. I couldn’t wait to feel his manly digits intertwine with my fingers.

Jake did not drink, so the guns seemed A-OK. He was a retired Oklahoma highway patrolman who owned a home with a foundation. He did not have a picture of John Wayne hanging over the fireplace in the den, and yes, Jake was twice divorced, but who isn’t these days? He was kind to his cocker spaniel, Boomer, his poodle, Sooner, and maybe even fed them too many Snausages because he loved those dogs so much. And as a big to-boot bonus, Jake could hold a conversation.

“Boomer just showed up one day,” Jake told me out on his backyard deck. That was the first time we grilled hotdogs. Jake would not let me do one thing to help. “You just keep still and look pretty,” he said.

“Yep, ole Boomer, he was limping in the middle of Dill Street by the north side of Mrs. Gundy’s house, so I put him in the truck and said, ‘C’mon, buddy, you’re living with me.’ Going on nine years now,” Jake said while grilling each dog so skillfully he could have been a TV chef on the Food Network channel.

Jake and I didn’t even leave his house that night. We talked well past 10 p.m., sitting on the backyard deck in his new yard chairs from Lowe’s. Crepe myrtles were outfitted with pink blossoms. I drank a Diet Coke with nothing mixed in it and laughed all night long. He even asked if he could kiss me. Wow, I have found one good man, one I can marry, not have to do much changing to, I thought while French kissing under the moon and stars and humidity. We could have the ceremony right here in his backyard. Reception too. Boomer could be the ring bearer; Sooner could give me away. Lavender bridesmaid dresses, matching lavender hats, dark purple pumps to offset each gown.

Looking back, what is really shallow of me but what really fooled me and sucked me in was that Jake not only could really kiss and talk, but he looked so normal, even handsome. He did not look like a toilet paper hoarder or a sexual freak. He worked out every morning from five to six at Family Fitness Aerobics Center here in Floyd, which is where I met him.

For a fifty-six-year-old man, he had the physique of a buff forty-five-year-old. He wore his black hair cropped short with short gray sideburns, and I was impressed that he worked out in his maroon University of Oklahoma T-shirt with sleeves, and gray Nike shorts, mid-thigh length. No tattoos or pinkie rings or gold chains or goatee or gray armpit hair hanging out of an orange tank top. No grunting like a constipated ape when lifting power weights. Oh, and his black twinkling eyes, so alert, alive, and radiating warmth.

Because he seemed so normal at first, I went out with him for a little over a month—the life cycle of a junior high romance, and this is okay in eighth grade. At fifty-two, and coming up divorced five years this August, I would have liked to have a bit more of a long-term relationship. I didn’t care about roses and candy, but just some little bit of long-term normalcy would have been nice. On the other hand, I count my blessings Jake and I only lasted five weeks.

“That’s why you didn’t notice the clues. I mean, he’s a closet toilet paper hoarder; he knew how to hide what he was hoarding,” my best friend, Patsy Lee, offers. “Then that sexual fetish freak-o thing sneaked up on you out of the blue. Nothing led up to letting you know it was going to happen, and really, no woman would have noticed the signs—not even Marg from CSI,” Patsy counsels. “And Marg notices everything.”

We are lounging in my new Barclay chaise loungers on my backyard deck at dusk and sipping peach zin. We watch two tweens amble down Emit Street while texting, one wearing a gray knit ski cap in the dead of July and carrying a boom box, a real retro deal these days with the kids. Patsy and I shake our heads, laughing. My purple petunias are the size of my fists—and if I buy one more gnome, gazing ball, or birdbath, my lawn will get major gaudy.

“Did you know Jake even had cases of toilet paper stashed in his little blue Ford Escort he parks up in his yard? You open the door, any of the doors, and rolls just cascade like rocks tumbling down a foothill at Lake Arbuckle. He didn’t have any TP in his Ford Escape, but that Escort was loaded like Fort Knox or the Charmin factory. TP in the laundry room, cases in that garage—even toilet paper stacked at the foot of his California king waterbed,” I whine to Patsy.

“How did that make you feel?” she asks, as if Dr. Phil himself.

I’ve known Patsy Lee twenty-two years. We’ve taught at Floyd Middle School together for that long, and she just lost her fiancé to Alzheimer’s thirteen months ago. Turned fifty-one alone last month, so I don’t tell her she sounds annoying when imitating the TV psychologist. She wants to get a master’s in counseling at Eastern Central University and become a bereavement therapist coach by the time she hits fifty-five.

“I am just so embarrassed,” I tell her. “There I was dating a hoarder of one ply and two ply TP, and I’m thinking, naïve me, that I’m going to be intimate with Andy Griffith straight from Mayberry. But no, the guy has a sexual fetish involving toilet paper. Here I am a certified middle school library media specialist in the Floyd School District, a 2003 Teacher of the Year nominee with two master’s degrees from Eastern Central University over in Adair. Lord, why did I get into the sack all naked—find myself almost letting him wrap me up head to toe like a mummy with TP?” I ask Patsy Lee.

As Patsy pours more peach zin, I explain, “I am usually a capable person. Did I ever tell you that I once steered a Cessna in the rain while my ex, Randy, puffed on his asthma inhaler? I do my own taxes without error even though I am a language arts person, not a math person. My people-detector is not really broken; it works well, usually, but not this time.” I sigh. I look down at my feet housed in my blue flip-flops, begonia-pink polish chipped off my left big toe.

Patsy is silent and touches my hand with an empathic therapy gesture, a technique she has no doubt learned in one of her ECU graduate counseling courses. The fireflies dart through the dark humid air, avoiding the bug zapper I won at Atwood’s. The moths draw to the purple glow of the device, and crisp radio static fries the dead night air.

“Remember when I spotted that shoplifter at Drug Warehouse and the security guard apprehended the Junior Service League-looking thirty-something gal who stole Aveeno, V8, and children’s Claritin? I usually spot weirdoes from a mile away,” I insist.

Patsy takes a big gulp of wine. “Well, you know Michelle Weaver, from around six years ago, in our ladies handbell group at church?” Patsy asks. “She was really smart. An Okataloa County Mensa member. But remember that new man, Peter, from Sunday school who said he had moved here from Denton? Wanted to get back to small-town living, lower property taxes? Well, he took her for steak at TJ’s Place then asked for five thousand dollars to invest in his prosthetic limb company. She gave him three thousand, then he left town as fast as he came. Flimflam. At least you didn’t get hooked into someone like him,” Patsy offers.

I stare at my neighbor’s clothesline, which they really use, then take in my larger-than-life, larger-than-the-Grand Canyon magnolia tree. It takes up half the north corner of the backyard. That tree, a miracle.

Patsy slaps a mosquito off her ankle. We switch from zin to Diet Cherry Dr. Pepper that we drink out of coffee mugs. Patsy likes the John Wayne one, and mine is the Starsky guy from Starsky and Hutch. At just 9 p.m., I have the yawns and am almost ready to hit the hay.

“So tell me one more time. When Jake got you all naked in bed he tried to wrap you in toilet paper like you were a mummy?” Patsy giggles.

I have been explaining this to her all day long. First on the phone, then she comes over to the house and I usher her into my den and explain all morning, then at lunch today at Cracker Barrel.

“Yeah, he tried to bind me up neck to ankles in toilet paper. I can’t make it any clearer. I was flint-skin naked, and no, he wasn’t drinking, neither one of us was drinking. While I was sloshing around on his waterbed, he whispers, ‘Hey, honey, stand up. Let me put something on you.’ ”

Patsy’s brown eyes bug out like pug eyes, as if she hasn’t already heard the story three times today.

“I thought he was going to put baby oil or lotion on my thighs. But he’s standing at the foot of the California king, and I’m standing with him, all naked of course. I see, in the glow of candlelight, he’s holding a toilet paper roll, the big double-size kind, and he begins to wrap my neck in the freaking toilet paper!”

“That’s just plain nuts!” Patsy exclaims. “Does he have a mental health history? I mean, not depression but hard-core insane stuff in his background?” Patsy blurts out. “This is as shocking as that sinkhole on Stanley and Tenth Street by Central Church of Christ—that sinkhole swallowing Mavis Butler’s blue Ford Fusion and her dog in broad daylight. Sinkholes starting to pop up in Floyd—now this toilet paper thing!”

This summer our Patsy Lee has been taking the courses Abnormal Psychology and Psychology of Human Aging at Eastern Central University on talkback TV at our tri-county area Red River Technical College. She is a sixth grade English teacher and unofficial detector of mental illnesses.

“So he just wanted to wrap you up like a mummy with that toilet paper?” She giggles again.

“Jake was breathing as hard as a blue heeler that had been herding sheep too long on a hot summer day,” I said. “He told me, ‘Baby girl, hold out your arms straight like two plyboards, hold them out like a Jesus cross. I’m going to make you my mummy-gal.’

“Oh gosh,” I tell Patsy, “His bedroom was so normal looking. The walls were painted beige, and there was a three-foot-long picture of ducks flying over cattails above the oak headboard. The tan wall-to-wall shag carpet was freshly vacuumed and the room smelled of neutral Febreze room deodorizer with a faint whiff of a Glade vanilla plug-in. Beige curtains, pine-green bedspread. Boomer slumbering on that brown football-shaped pet bed to the right of that glider rocker.”

Somehow, in the almost-dark of the bedroom, I ripped that toilet paper ring off my neck and found my shorts, tank top, and new Brighton purse all puddled on the floor by the glider rocker in the corner of the normal-looking bedroom by the normal-looking dresser.

“Got a yeast infection! Boy, how it burns!” I blurted. “Lots of pus squirting out to boot! Better book on home!” I said, butt naked holding my pink bra with sunny yellow butterflies imprinted on each cup.

“Huh?” Jake said, making a face like he’d just swallowed a horse pill that didn’t want to go down. “So, call me when it’s over? A few days from now?” he asked, the green candle still blazing a tiny stream of light.

“Will do, mister,” I said as I hauled ass into my granny panties, denim Bermuda shorts, and baby-blue tank top.

It was only 9:30 p.m. I had never really thought about it before, but I thought strange sex acts took place in the dead of night—not when the normal were eating spaghetti and watching a Netflix movie, or playing a little late-night Ping-Pong in the garage. I said the pus thing because I once read that a woman has to say something gross in order to stop a rapist from the act, even though Jake was not raping me.

Jake put on his shorts and walked me out to my little Grand Am like a perfect gentleman. He opened my car door and pecked my cheek before I sprang into the driver’s seat. Then he whispered, “If not you tonight, then another, sister.”

A shiver slithered like a black snake all the way down my spine.

“You just never can tell, can you?” Patsy says, eyeing the gnome by my birdbath, which carries a solar-powered lantern that glows in the dark. “Do you think he was one of those officers who played with women’s vulnerabilities when writing tickets? You know, sexually groped them if they looked illegal Mexican-like or too poor to pay a speeding ticket?”

By now it is totally dark, and people driving by Jake’s house over on Dill Street have no idea that he is a toilet paper hoarder and sexual foreplay freak, nor can they see all the rolls piled in that little blue Escort parked in his front yard.

“Have you thought of getting some counseling? I mean, you might feel better since it appears you now doubt yourself about men and suffer from self-esteem issues. The unexpected stresses the body,” Patsy offers, practicing her therapist-of-the-future voice.

“You know Patsy-Lou, I made a mistake any divorced woman could’ve made, and I will forgive myself for being an idiot. And dang, I’m lucky. All those guns carefully placed throughout the house, who knows what he could’ve done to me. Now I gotta go tinkle,” I say in my almost pissed-off tone, though I’m trying not to be mad at myself any longer.

I remember thinking I would never get over my divorce after twenty-four years of marriage, but I did. I’ll battle this, too. Randy found a girl on the Internet, an LPN from the Philippines in her late twenties. There he was, fifty-nine, looking like Grandpa Walton with Asian Mary Ellen.

In my Divorce Care Workshop over at Northridge Church of Christ on MacArthur, two other women were left for Internet mates here in just little old Floyd, America. Stopping for milk at Braum’s one day after work, I told myself, Look here, you’re not the only one to get left—you’re not so unique.

Five years later and I really am okay about it.

I tell myself now, Jo Anna Lizbeth Williams, you are not the only woman to encounter some strange guy during the AARP era; just let this go. Free your mind of him. You aren’t dead yet, and you’re only fifty-two.

“Sorry to be so self-obsessed today,” I apologize to Patsy as I slap a mosquito off my left elbow.

“Hey, I would’ve thought the guy was normal, too,” Patsy offers. “You know, Jo Anna, especially since he’s in Lions Club and heads up the lobster fundraiser for autism each July, who would have a clue about how weird he is? And you are truly blessed that he didn’t get rough.”

As I open the sliding glass door and walk into the house I think, Oh Lord, please let me learn to spot the weird men out there! And Lord, please let me not become a lady who wears Depends in middle age. These days, since the TP incident, I have to pee all the time, and I have hardly any ability to hold my bladder.

“Trauma, it’s trauma,” Patsy keeps saying even though I’m indoors.

Seated atop the new soft-flush toilet in my freshly painted peach bathroom, I turn the light off, the fan on. I pee in the dark and force myself not to look at the white two-ply roll.

 

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The Country Lawyer Explains

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on May 6, 2015 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson

Amy Susan Wilson has published in numerous journals, including This Land, Southern Women’s Review, and elsewhere. Fetish and Other Stories, which focuses on Southern women, is forthcoming May 2015, Third Lung Press. She is Editor of Red Truck Review: A Journal of American Southern Literature and Culture and Publisher, Red Dirt Press. (www.redtruckreview.com). She publishes attorney Steven L. Parker’s debut novel, “BS,” release date of June 2015. 

“The Country Lawyer Explains”

Goat blood gushing
like Turner Falls
after a flood;
Rascal
your number one bird dog
settled into truck bed,
flip out the side
into that ravine,
fridges
sofas—
goats
thrown out back
the pull-trailer
Bethel Fork Road.
Seven necks
wishbone-easy
snap.
Ford 250 axle busted up
good as a boxer’s face.

Elmore charging outta his pen
as you chug the rut-red dirt
road—lying in wait he was–
Elmore
knowing to dart
just the right millisecond
to crash pancake-thin
Ford 250 and all,
Elmore’s
laugh-smirk-snort
the sure-fire sign
of a serial killer
you say.
Welp, Elmore enjoyed takin’ out
           meat goats,
           ole Rascal.
           Ya didn’t see him laugh;
           truck engine
           blazin’ Hades
           goat blood
           galore.

II.

Uncle Roy,
Aunt Wanella,
I don’t doubt
the Internet says
you can prosecute a pig
some parts the world
but not
Pottawatomie County,
Oklahoma.
Sure, blame our federal
government,
Obama,
But animals lack culpability.
I agree
smells like rain
come this hour.
Elmore’s gonna muck
in mud
sun his big fat
wad of belly,
his favorite
slaughter hog-thing
beyond murdering meat goats,
God’s finest bird dog,
the injustice
of reward.

Three Poems by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Poetry, Southern Literature on June 5, 2013 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson has recently published in Southern Women’s Review, Fried Chicken and Coffee, Cybersoleil, Dead Mule, Crosstimbers, Red River Review, Red Dirt Review, The Literary Lawyer, and in other similar publications. Amy Susan’s poetry book,  Honk If You Love Billy Ray, is forthcoming from Dead Mule Press; she is the Founder and Publisher of Red Truck Review: A Forum for Southern Literature and Culture, forthcoming September 2013. She holds an MFA from Columbia University and lives in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She can be reached at www.facebook.com/redtruckreview.

Tater’s Small Engine Repair

Tate, known as Coot to all

him and Reverse, Pete for real

but Reverse cuz his Chevy 250

got no back-up.

Those boys

they get to guzzling

lemons squeezed into vodka

and what-not

Reverse says,

I seen floaters

            Red River.

            Bodies puffed as marshmallows,

            sorriest thing I’d seen.

 “Oh Hale,” Coot says.

             Motor Head here

            best  Negro magician

            on  a power warsher

            rider mower to boot.

Arguing till sunset

whether Motor Head

healed warsher

rider mower alike—

            Come Back 2-morrow  sign

winks purple-neon.

Coot, Reverse

agree on nothing

other than

one  floater

swells whole river

with sorrow.

PJ’s Liquor

My butt anchored

to Elvis-old

wooden stool,

            No Man is an island,

            Entire of itself;

My man Donne says

though no time

to guzzle poetry,

watermelon brandy

$11.73.

            Hey Big Blake Junior!

            How ya doing?

Egg-white sweat

beads the adam’s apple;

nose, forehead

pepper-red.

Just in from the Grandkids,”

Big Blake Jr. lies.

            Every man is a piece of the continent,

so I says,

Take it easy

            hear?”

Non-Milf

beige teeth,

pear-shaped rumpus,

heat seeks

missile-fast

Tecate,

aisle two

shelf three.

Her kid

hangs his

water slide long

tongue

out the passenger

window.

Lord and Gumby Stew–

some kinda new

birth defect?

This place:

Blue-gray

plywood barn

like my

Granpa Ramey’s

lawn mower shed

smack-dab the

Sinclair.

Dinosaur

winks green

as the hair that floats in

to ink up

on Buzz Jam

Whiskey Jel,

Black Licorice.

Yellow halter

butterfly left of nape.

Green Hair Gal

squeals like

she sees a mouse—

TV saying

three bodies

Boston Marathon.

            Any man’s death diminishes me,

            Because I am involved in mankind,

but news dude paid to say,

“Sports up next.”

This big tear

rains down

her left cheek,

four cents short.

Slut Butt Miller: A Barber’s Daughter 

Whale-O-Suds Tunnel Wash,

Jimmy Maloney unfastens

midnight-blue push-up

one hand.

White wife beater

daisy duke shorts

litter John Deere

floor mats

along with

Jack Daniels

Pall Mall pack.

Creamy mint frosting

soaps the Ford 150

as if a giant cupcake.

Turtle Wax

complimentary,

1:00 in the a.m.

Pink thong

unwraps

Jolly Rancher easy,

watermelon kind.

Whale-O-Suds

a done deal,

Slut Butt

squeals donuts alone

Shawnee Bowl.

Keystone glued

to cup holder,

Slut Butt

circles her Daddy’s

‘95 beige Impala

round and round

that empty lot,

swears to FM

and humidity

her Daddy visits

in a dream

that plays

like a movie,

Recall your tire swing

            Salt Fork Landing,

Red River?

                        Old tread

            roped to oak—

                        Just for you,

                        Baby-Girl.

Her Daddy

pushes

up

over

that muddy

Red River,

her Daddy

right now

just north

PJ’s Liquor

A-OK Pawn,

Pottawatomie Cemetery.

Asphalt and sky

pitch-black

as the inside

of a beer can,

the backseat

of some boy’s truck

waiting.

Three Poems by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on September 13, 2012 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson lives in Shawnee, Oklahoma and has recently published in Southern Women’s Review, Dead Mule, Red River Review, Cyber Soleil Journal, Red Dirt Review, Crosstimbers, Southern Literary Review,and in other similar journals. Amy is at work on a novel, The Fine Life of Mrs. Delbert L. Smith, which explores the first female attorney in Oklahoma to practice oil and gas law.  Non-fiction writing interests include Senior, over age fifty-five beauty pageants, and the pay day loan industry as it intersects with spirituality. Amy lives in Shawnee, Oklahoma with her family and three rescue dogs: Matthew, Pedro, and Snowball. She holds an MFA from Columbia University.

The following poem first appeared in Volume 11, Crosstimbers (Spring-Summer, 2011).

Doing the Hula

 

Don Ho, Hawaiian Breeze,

whisks her from this living room of green shag,

sensible sofa covers

to sandy white beaches with

girls swiveling hips, jiggling away

Just like Laki-Laki at Don Ho’s side.

 

Pall Mall clutched tight as a rosary,

sweet tea pressed into the other.

With each gulp and crank of vinyl

Eunice becomes Lead Hula Gal

her gray permed poodle hair

glossy-black; waist length.

All the men want her.

Don Ho blows a kiss

into her ear

as she hulas into the coffee table

laughs into the lamp

cry-giggles to the floor.

I will not forget the time

she brought out her ukulele

and Colt 45

held it to her left temple

then crown.

Grandma Eunice,

if you were to drive

by 3901 Windsor Way,

peek into the window at yourself

you’d see a woman

downing Diet Coke & rum

that only you call ice tea.

You’d see a woman

stumble through the fluorescent night,

your Maui Island faraway

as you dance into the dust

of volcanic ash.

 

 

The following poem first appeared in Volume 3, Red Dirt Review (Spring 2012).

Waiting in Line at the Pott. County Wal-Mart

 

 

If you live in the rural South and you are female and own a vehicle, or your cousin owns a vehicle, you can’t help but shop or just browse Wal-Mart at least once a week. In fact, Wal-Mart is not unlike attending the First Baptist Church; it is there and you must, you must participate in that weekly or more visit because it is how you were raised, and the urge to be a part of this world is coded into your Southern female DNA . If you are from the East or West coast you likely won’t understand, but anyone from here, the rural South, this South, well, ya’ll know what I mean.

                                                                        -Amy Susan Wilson

                                                                                                                                               

 

This dude runs some Morning Star corn dogs

down the conveyer,

there goes four Silk Soy Strawberry yogurts

but this guy, he’s no fruit

No Sir

tan biceps –Big–

but not too big

cute jogger’s butt

framed in Levis

he stands about 6’3–

oh, here goes some organic blueberries

wow, I am like marrying you

if you’d ever get off your phone

so I could say,

Blueberries, isn’t it nice they’re in season?

 

That’s what I’d say cuz I can’t think

of anything better;

How pathetic.

Wait, he’s going ninety an hour

on his cell:

So fight the cocks anyway

Just  fight’em ‘n place five, C.J.

 

What? He’s yacking about birds?

fighter birds?

How can you buy soy ‘n fight birds?

You know they attach razor blades to their ankles;

even Kris Steele, a Republican,

voted against cock-fighting.

 

Mmm, second thought,

Mister those Levi’s

just hang out on your bony ass

‘n your nose pug-like,

a girl nose

No a Michael Jackson nose.

Lord, now I have to get a divorce

cuz I married you

when Lynelle here rang up

teriyaki tofu, some three olive hummus–

I honeymooned with you at a green resort

in Tucson

as you sacked

with cloth reusable, recycled  bags

you brought from home.

 

Lord, I can’t help

but linger at Coin Star

as you drain the change

from your hemp wallet—

I thought you were tan from jogging

with a big black rescue dog

 

the kind no one wants to adopt

but no, I find out you’re tan from

raising rooster bulls to cock fight.

 

Gosh dang, cock fighting.

murdering the Lord’s creatures.

Are you the one

to attach the razors?

Or does your buddy C.J.

do your dirty work?

 

How do I find men like you?

 

Now you’re climbing into a hybrid Escape,

a bumper sticker:

 “Support the N.R.A.”

Oh shit!

I need an annulment

and fast.

 

You catch my eye and grin.

Listen, this three minute marriage

it’s over

I’m glad to be single again

and whew,

start my new life over

totally without you.

 

 

Slut Butt Miller: A Barber’s Daughter

Whale-O-Suds Tunnel Wash,

Jimmy Maloney unfastens

midnight-blue push-up

one hand.

White wife beater

daisy duke shorts

litter John Deere

floor mats

along with

Jack Daniels

Pall Mall pack.

That gush

of green soap,

creamy mint frosting

you’d see on top

a cupcake.

Turtle Wax

complimentary,

3:00 in the a.m.

Tonight

Blaine Sawder

football keg

Haunted Hill.

Pink thong

unwraps

Jolly Rancher easy,

watermelon kind.

After

the after party

Slut Butt

squeals donuts alone

Shawnee Bowl.

Neon pin

oil derrick tall

winks egg-white.

All the boys

gone home

texting from bed

their real

sweethearts.

 

Keystone glued

to cup holder,

Slut Butt

circles her Father’s

‘95 beige Impala

round and round

that empty lot,

swears to FM

and humidity

her Daddy visits

like in a movie

but a dream,

Recall your tire swing

            Salt Fork River?

                        I cut from old tread

            roped to oak—

                        You was my

            Little Angel,

                        Baby-Girl.

 

Her Mama

irons shirts

seventy-five cents

a pop,

Benny Lee

            Yacking to you 4:00 a.m.—

            And I won $500 million

            Oklahoma Lottery.

Asphalt and sky

pitch-black

as the inside

of a beer can,

the backseat

of some boy’s truck

waiting.

“The Glass Eye,” A Poem by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Creativity, Poetry, Writing on August 22, 2012 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson is a writer living in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and her work has appeared in the Southern Literary Review, Southern Women’s Review, Red River Review, and other journals.

The Glass Eye

Acting like you come

to pet my dog Bullet

No Sir Little Missy

you come to lookit

the quarter-sized hole

in my head

where my glass eye lives.

 

‘Jack in the Box Joe’

I call him.

Pops just like Jack

out of his tin box,

or dentures

From my mouth.

Hold out your hand

I’ll drop him to your palm

go on

he won’t bite.

 

Girl, slow your jabbering down.

Did Jack in the Box Joe

ever fall out my head

when he wasn’t supposed to?

 

Three springs back

Tornado Juanita

drove trucks, trailers

Big Lots!

ten counties over;

that wind a noodler’s arm

yanking Joe out my socket,

Joe a catfish

bunkered deep the nest

of my skull.

 

Campground Twelve,

Lake Shawnee,

Jack in the Box Joe plunked

Right smack that

memory foam posture pedic queen

lodged the top

an old oak.

 

Last June

International Youth Rodeo Finals,

lost my eyeball

Expo building.

 

Youth barrel racing

starting up–

old Joe roll behind a saddle stall,

a miracle that loudspeaker,

            Rodeo fans

            we got us one navy purse

            an eyeball turned in

            Anyone missing an eye

            Or lady’s purse

            Go left of Roy’s Funnel Cakes

            Right of Connie’s Chicken Gizzard Wagon;

            Again, anyone lost an eyeball

            Assert to Rodeo lost and found.

 

Jack in the Box Joe

plopped back in

that empty space

in my head

Joe all grateful,

sputters a little

            Thanks Man,

Joe going hippie

on me

sometimes.

 

Do I have to clean him

since he’s made of glass?

Windex, a paper towel

spit-shines Joe

clear as a prize blue marble

or show Corvette.

 

How did I get the nickname

“Eyeball-Satellite?”

Joe and me

we spot rain

good as a NASA satellite.

Rain, sleet twenty counties away,

the glass eye twitches.

 

If Jack in the Box Joe

knew stocks like he knows rain

I’d be rich  

as Wal-Mart clan,

Bentonville area.

 

Did you know Alice Walton

got herself a DUI

Christmas 2012?

Forth Worth ranch,

I-35.

Miss Alice

coulda splatted

like a water bug,

liquor a respecter

of no one.

 

Watch Little Miss Amy Susan;

My eye’s gonna twitch.

Rain our way come this hour.

Best to scoot on home

eat your Mama’s

corndog, okra supper.

 

Oh foo and poo

fiddle stickers to boot,

you think I could make this up?

Joe and me

got to feed Bullet his Purina

I mix with a little Swanson’s

scoot home girl–

beat the rain,

don’t forget

to count your blessings

for all you have.   

“Bottle Tree,” A Poem by Amy Susan Wilson

In Arts & Letters, Creative Writing, Humanities, Poetry, Writing on August 15, 2012 at 8:45 am

Amy Susan Wilson is a writer living in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She holds an M.F.A. from Columbia University and her work has appeared in the Southern Literary Review, Southern Women’s Review, Red River Review, and other journals.

Bottle Tree

My Nanna’s backyard elm

outfitted with blue, red

green glass bottles

tied with chicken wire the width

of a hen’s beak

to each branch.

 

            Scarin’ crows away,

Gram’s explained.

Wind chimes hung like gaudy ear bobs

from lobes of lower branches:

a lady bug with silver spoons,

that copper kettle adorned with

aqua beads, a faded red tin cup,

the kind hobos carry

while riding the rail.

 

Each sunset

those Blue Nun bottles

soft purple

like a mood ring

or Goddess moon from Jupiter.

          Mama back at Griffin,

I’d sigh,

run my palm

down the spine

of charcoal bark.

 

I never told Nanna,

kids at school

just Ruby-Lucille

me winning

a big red Escalade

Firelake Casino

someday I would—

 

Mama and me

we’d chomp green M&Ms

all the way to California,

big blue ice chest

the kind with wheels

loaded with biscuits

Pepsi, Paydays

strawberry ice cream bars galore.

 

Grams calls Griffin

          A  nerve hospital

           A mini-vacation from life.

 

Church ladies whisk

meatloaf

salisbury steak

Sunday afternoons,

          Grams too old to handle a child

          This stage of life

          All by herself.

 

Always,

Mrs. Harlan Dodge Simpson

presses a green bean casserole,

Old Testament

coloring book

to my palms

 

lambs, cows

slaughtered on an altar,

carnation red crayon

for blood

twelve pack Crayola.

           

Ruby Lucille always waits,

backyard,

those bottles

clink like diamond bracelets

TV stars load their arms with.

          “Well Lady Bug,

          A fine plan

          You and your Mama,

          Heading to L.A.

          Someday,”     

Ruby Lucille whispers

in her bottle tree language,

Ruby Lucille

never laughing

never  letting on.

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