From Corvallis to Farmville, the Kesey novel
steepled my kneecap, while a girl named Kathy
chatted me across the Greyhound aisle,
out of kindness, curiosity, spring
fever or pity. And the piebald bovines
in their greenery, standing still yet rushing
past Tillamook where steamy slush hung on
the mud flaps chunky as gorgonzola.
Kathy, such a wanton brown-eyed smart ass
from OSU asked me if I ever missed my youth,
or else took it lovingly in fell swoop
like Julio down by the schoolyard;
I thought of Ken Kesey, by way of rejoinder,
how his greatest Notion took only nineteen days
to write, day and night, under the influence
of mushrooms, cow patty, string cheese theory.
Yet poor Kenneth, all done with courting
the Muse by thirty one, and that Prankster quote
about “Are you on the bus?” never really spoke
to my Oregon, as did Paul Simon. “Kathy,” I said,
“hand me a Botox?” though she knew I was
teasing, camera shy and lost forever in the
fondue of her eyes; the bus driver in rear view
which never did belong there mirror (oh, he
knew! He knew, too!) was every
Neal Cassady in honey-colored shades, humming
shamelessly, seamlessly with a gonzo universal joint.
“DAIRY ALERT!” he said, “dead ahead, dead
Tumbling, in the ruts.
Dennis Mahagin’s poems and stories have appeared in journals such as Smokelong Quarterly, Exquisite Corpse, 42opus, 3 A.M., Storyglossia, Keyhole, Slow Trains and many others. Dennis also edits fiction and poetry at the seminal electric zine called FRiGG.His blog is located here: http://fouhourhardon.blogspot.com.