Monday, January 29, 2018

Susan Montag


Our father liked hearing the stories
about Tom's fist fights—
my adolescent brother acting out his part
in the middle of the living room
Bam, bam, bam!
while dad sat on the couch
smoking and laughing along.

They got what was coming to them
sometimes, I'll admit,
like when Brian Kincade lifted
cash out of wallets in the locker room,
and everyone knew he did it,
or when Jason Klingensmith
grabbed Molly Ritter's ass in art class.
But other times, it was just because
some guy from a rival town
showed up on the main drag on a
Friday night and acted a little too hot.

Somehow Tom's now 55,
needing a knee replacement
but too stubborn to get it,
about seventy pounds heavier
than he was back in those days.
He's a church goer now too,
and doesn't want to lose his post office job;
the risks outweigh the satisfaction
of breaking some dumb fuck's nose.
Anyway, Dad is no longer there
to laugh along with the story.

Yet, Tom holds firm to his fighter's view,
the idea that most problems could be solved
with a smack down of one kind or another,
if only we could take certain people
out into the woods and teach them a lesson,
if only we were allowed to take our gloves off
to get our guns out, to let our bombs drop.

Susan reads "Out into the Woods":

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Susan confesses: "This is a part of a fictional series. I drew inspiration for this piece from my memories of growing up in a small town in southern Iowa, where violent solutions were often proposed as “common sense.” Not that this violent mindset is limited to Iowa! You can find it anywhere."

SUSAN MONTAG is the author of Finding the Way: A Tao For Down-to-Earth People, 2005, from Nicolas Hays Press, and Nude Ascending a Staircase, 2001 Bellowing Ark Press. She has been a teacher, a publisher, and briefly, a used-car salesperson. Currently, in addition to a series of narrative poems, she working on an essay collection and a novel.

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