Monday, July 9, 2012

R.A. Allen


Your friends were expecting it,
your teachers weren't surprised,
and even your mom had an inkling.
Truant, shoplifter, creature of the night,
your calling was low-slung and German.
Like a cheetah prowling the Kenyan plains
the road was your antelope to chase.
"Born to boost" embannered on your chest,
theft was the one thing that made you alive;
dashing evasion set your veins ablaze.

Beyond the next hill lies the Texas state line—
a Rubicon to your rebellious desires.
This line, this day, this existential choice
in an instant will chart the course of your life.
For crossing it lands you in federal court,
where property crimes are punished in the
American Way, and they stack up the counts
like an Old Testament stoning and pile on
enough time for a double homicide.

Clare Toohey reads "On Car Theft":

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R.A. confesses: "It's the difference between joyriding and OC. Back when construction sites were lightly guarded, I knew a guy who would steal dump trucks to fence in Illinois. Nabbed by the Feds, they gave him a nickel with no parole and then sent him back to Tennessee to serve another four years."

R.A. ALLEN lives in Memphis. His poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Pear Noir!, Boston Literary Magazine, the Recusant(UK), Underground Voices, Word Riot, Gargoyle, and elsewhere; fiction published in The Literary Review, The Barcelona Review, PANK, The Los Angeles Review, Best American Mystery Stories 2010. Nominated for Best of the Web 2010.

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