Three Poems

The Sun Wakes on the Soybean Capital of the World

Above the long white smoke stacks                                                                                      
and gray tobacco-stained rooftops,
the sun wakes to soybean smog
overtaking the orange-cream horizon,

wakes to the bawling alarm clocks
of blue-collar men who work hard
for as many reasons as there are
to spend money in this Illinois town,

wakes to my father drinking coffee
at the table, each sip tasting closer
to his goal of purchasing a home
with more bedrooms than children,

wakes to the fading dreams of men
whose thoughts of old glory days
end each morning with the last drag
of cigarette before heading to work.

Dad’s Tickle Torture

When hurting, saddened
from a belt-reddened ass,
or worse, his absence,
I’d curl and clinch
raw bacon strips
between each toe
and let the dogs lick
the pain into laughter.

When I Had to Live in Darren’s Basement Because I Had No Job and No Money

Upturned octopus tentacles
were the metal ducts
angling from the furnace
which was cylindrical
and large as a grain bin
with a deep-pitched pop
that started and stopped
the fire inside its belly
wanting to take wings
with the heat and rise
through the open vents
upstairs, toward reverence.

Jason Lee Brown teaches writing at Eastern Illinois University. His work has appeared in The Journal, Natural Bridge, Spoon River Poetry Review, Post Road, Tar River Poetry, Ecotone and others.  He has been nominated for Pushcart Prizes in fiction and poetry and received honors from the Academy of American Poets and the Playboy College Fiction Contest.  He is finishing his first novel.

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