MARLBORO MAN

— Warren Longmire


third birthday caked-on mud, candy apple Iraqi juice

and a cowboy stick dangling on a piece of chapped lip.

soot-eyed Charlie clamped in grass and dirt splotches

Midwest made chin straps,

raised letters on plastic

“made in the US”

Newsweek coffee table happening and a full Time’s spread

postings on assorted blogs

a half-dead embed with a tight lens

a mite quicker on the draw

you almost killed him.

the day after

?

waking

wet mouth dribbling blood warm

in the back

of an all-expenses-paid auto repair class

Fallujah redneck snaps massless rifles at backfiring cars

you don’t know why

you wake up occasionally gripping your wife’s neck

like the last ration

a cat gorges on the inside of a dead Iraqi

you wake up to lumpy brown oatmeal

spokesmen duty.

Time’s man of the year

for an instant of war

and a shy kid

calls you a g.

 

Warren Longmire is a writer, a software engineer, and an educator from the bad part of North Philadelphia. He is the cofounder of the Excelano Project Spoken Word Collective and the director of poetry events for Blue Stoop. You can find his writing in journals including American Poetry Review, Painted Bride Quarterly, Eleven Eleven, and The New Purlieu Review and on his instagram @alongmirewriter.