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Sam Pink

11 POEMS

SELF DEFENSE

At the sporting goods store we passed a couple faceless mannequins dressed in work out clothes. My brother mimed as though blocking a strike then ran his keys down the side of one’s neck. I followed, a few steps behind, having given up on the winter hat I wanted to buy.

FIVE GEESE FLEW BY HONKING

I was shoveling snow, when five geese flew by honking. And I slipped and fell, trying to follow them with my eyes. I went into the snow, like a body of water, and disappeared forever.

THE BORDER

Some people you can bring in and some must always be met at the border of you, and the rest of the world.

THE GHOST

I saw a roadside memorial on the drive to work. A cross, a basket, some flowers. And I imagined the deceased, reappearing as a bluish-white translucent ghost, bending to smell the flowers, then smiling and disappearing again.

LOVE POEM

I’m having a milkshake and watching the snow fall, sitting in the cab of my truck as it idles in an empty parking lot. And the only thing that could make it better, would be if you were farther away. Aging onward, the cold is a blacklight to past injuries. Dying apart, new as strangers, like we always were.

A THING

Imagined myself as pop culture personality on TV show, and I say, ‘we turn now to the world of my brother’s dog, where the mini football is IN and sticks are OUT.’

U.S. 12

One day, after I’m gone, my ghost will return home to U.S. 12. And you might see me there, in various forms on that stretch of road. Yes you might see me there in various forms, when my ghost returns home for good. I might be someone who helps you change a tire. I might be a deer you barely miss with your car. Or the moon, behind some clouds. I might be the dark, draped everywhere. Or a hawk circling high, midday. I might be none of those things too, but I will return, to U.S. 12. And you might me see there, when my ghost returns for good.

BUGS

Been enjoying feeling visited, rather than (whatever) when a bug is on or around me.

IN MY CHEAP WINTER COAT

When I see the horses out in the cold in their dirty wraps/capes, it reminds me of how I feel in my cheap winter coat: powerful and fuckin awesome (and fast).

LANDLORD POEM

I applied for an apartment. They wanted proof of income. I gave them proof. They said they needed something else. I told them I had nothing else. They said if you pay up front for 6 months then no problem. I said ok fine. They said ok now the rent is 50 bucks more a month too. I stared at the email. I imagined a group of shadowy people on the other end, laughing as they keep changing shit around. ‘haha he bought it, now say it’s 50 more a month.’ Another says, “haha yeah yeah, and tell him he has to wear a party hat the whole time he lives here.” ‘tell him Wednesdays are walk backwards days.’ I closed the email. I closed my eyes and focused on the sight and sound of the moment the tip of a knife goes through human skin. The moment the skin says ‘I give up’ and the knife says, ‘I’m coming in.’ I opened my eyes and looked at the snow outside. A squirrel had just leapt from branch to branch, knocking off a beautiful wave of powder.

THE HAWK

I saw a hawk circling above me, on a bike ride. I thought it didn’t notice me but then it swooped down into a tree just ahead. It shook the tree and a dead limb fell onto the road, barely missing me. And I thought, ‘holy shit, bro, relax.’ To be honest though, I liked its approach.

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Sam Pink’s latest book, The Ice Cream Man and Other Stories, is available now at Soft Skull Press. Follow Sam on Twitter at @sampinkisalive.