a rusty truck tribute to todd moore by rd armstrong, charles plymell, fn wright, karl koweski, alan catlin, a.d. winans, paul corman roberts, david s pointer, misti rainwater lites, pete lally & scot young


This issue dedicated to the memory and the poetry of Todd Moore

Poems by Todd Moore
& Friends

Todd Moore







Todd Moore is gone.  It’s hard when you lose someone you have been a fan of…harder still when you’ve also known them well enough to call them friend and mentor.
I first met Todd ten years ago. I had interviewed him for my little mag, the Lummox Journal, in ’97, but it took me another three years to get out to visit him. I wrote about that trip in my second long poem, On/Off the Beaten Path. I stayed with Todd and his wife Barbara for a few days. They were very gracious. Best of all, Todd and I hit it off really well. Almost as if we were old friends, just getting together for a little visit. And we had some of the deepest conversations…Todd had the ability to get really serious no matter where we were, be it his patio or at the local McDonalds. He could always do that. The last time I spent some time with him, in May of ’09, we spent many hours talking about the craft of poetry and its’ presentation to the world. I’ve always had doubts about what my place in that world is and he was always good at helping me see, without being preachy about it like a lot of poets can be.  I never felt like Todd was talking down to me or being anything less than straight-up honest. That’s rare. Much of the Small Press is riddled with the “standard line of BS” when it comes to the pecking order.
But not so with Todd. He was a good man and a decent writer. His Dillinger epic is an amazing sequence of very spare poems, some of which are downright spiritual in nature. The Corpse is Dreaming is the last section of the series and I had the pleasure of publishing it in 1999. It details the last moments of Dillinger’s life as he lays in the alley behind the Biograph, bleeding to death. It is amazing!

But Todd was not limited to one long-ass poem. He also wrote a lot of short poems, all in that spare, just a word per line down the outer margin of the page – style. And, on top of all that, Todd also wrote essays…a lot of them.  He wrote eleven or so for my mag during the course of its’ eleven year run and I was only one mag out of many that he wrote for. Perhaps someday Todd’s essays will be published in their own volume and receive the recognition that they deserve.  Perhaps that will also be the day that Todd finally receives the recognition that HE deserves, too.
Todd Moore told me once that when a poet starts worrying about his legacy, he might as well hang it up because his days are numbered. And yet, if there is anyone who is more deserving of a legacy, I can’t think of them at the moment. Pretty much all the big guns of the late 20th century left a legacy in their wake and so too does Todd. His shoes will be retired…nobody will be able to fill them.



Catching The Westbound For Todd Moore

Look how it’s draggin’  I hear my mother’s words
It’s a long drag and a double-header
Climbing the grade bowing south to Santa Fe
Blending past the purple prairie sage
Sun lush in skyward’s crimson rim
Far behind The Sangre de Christo
Sparks link and bellow from its stacks
It’s whistle low in half open moan.
We can beat it to the next crossing, John
This V8 can outrun anything on wheels.

–Charles Plymell



for playing
russian rou
lette first
put the
bullet in
an empty
spin the
3 times
cock the
back lick
it off for
luck & the
black taste
of death
then point
the pistol
at yr head
take a
very deep
breath ex
hale slowly
& let yr
finger fall
in love w/
the trigger
the way
that maya
did the
shock of
the click
cd kill

–Todd Moore


lola poured

half a bottle
of tequila
over her
pubic hair
& cunt
her legs
open &
shut to
get the
full effect
that hey
baby look
sd you
think you
cd put
yr tongue
down there
to save
those extra

–Todd Moore



Todd; I was listening to your poem
About Tornado Jones on that CD
Mark sent me and when you talked
About the music calling to him
Especially when the moon was rising
And the wind was in the trees
I knew exactly what you meant
I too have felt it, tasted it, even smelled it
Even though the moon I see rising
And the sound of the wind in the trees
That I hear is only in my imagination
Because when I look out my window
What I see through the bars…
There’s no moon
No trees
And no wind
Only the dusty brown sky
Or if it’s late
The shapeless steel blue of
An urban California night
Silence punctured by
The slamming of doors
The siren’s wail
And the laughter of someone else’s woman.

–RD Armstrong



daughter’s chatting on facebook
wife’s filling in answers
poorly on our son’s homework
while he divides his attention
between cartoons and video games
and I’m waiting for
a text message from a woman
who may or may not love me
who may or may not go back
to her husband or run away
with the next guy with
clean teeth and thick hair
and a passport of possibilities
able to deliver her
as I’m waiting to be delivered
some place better, different
some place where no one answers
for their actions or explanations
for the prior years of inaction
and still there’s no text message
and this may mean something
or it may mean nothing at all
and my daughter’s fingers
flit across the keyboard
communicating with the sort of
day-to-day friends
she’ll depend on for compassion
when I make good my escape
and my son will never miss me
though for the rest of his life
he’ll gun me down
in first person shooter dreams
and my wife will hate me
no more and no less than
she’s hated me this last decade
I’ve been here without
really ever being here

–Karl Koweski



with bibles
under their
arms going
door to door
selling jesus
w/ two year
fixed rates
salvation on
the budget plan
like cable TV
100% guaranteed
not to rise
inflation be
In case of flood
toll free numbers
in each book
Hot mail for all
you sinners

–Alan Catlin



I rewrite the poem
For the third time
Print it out again
Ball it up and toss it
At the feet of my cat
Who shakes it
Like a mouse
Spits it out
Like a bitter pill
There will be no fourth time
The editor has spoken


Today a poet, editor invited me
To submit a poem on fame
I thought of asking him for money
But long ago gave away my soul for free
Being a poet
I’m already a millionaire


Lying here alone in bed
A gnawing hunger in my belly
Soon I’ll take my aching bones
To the kitchen table
Take my morning dose of pills
Sad there is no woman to put them
Next to my morning cereal

–A.D. Winans


you looking
at my old man
sd using a
straight razor
to shave
w/ what’s
the trick of
doing that
w/out getting
cut i
asked he
angled the
blade down
& i heard
steel scraping
skin in the
& then
riding clean
no trick
my old man
sd wiping
the blade off
on an old
rag slapped
along the
banged edge
blood is
the ante
you lose

–Todd Moore


This precious, sterling heart
Requests it be returned to its dealer
Should it wind up lost
I deem this request laughable
Should it escape in this neighborhood
No return from here
Unless said dealer has a covert deal
With this district’s seedier retailers
We’d all like to know about
The trick is to conceal the bourgeoisie logo
So the golems don’t hone in like airplanes
On beacon signals
This is, after all, the known Tenderknob
The amorphous in-between area
Where the rich and poor
Rub their shoulders and genitalia
Together in a shared depravity
Which no one questions
Not even the plainly out of place
Out-of-placers who aren’t really quite sure
How to react
When cannabis clouds form around their heads
Where hot girls openly share studded tongues
Right in front of them.
Everyone plying his or her shtick in these parts
Still believes they’re a beautiful player
Not like down the hill
Where, but for the grace of their goddess
They are one bad lover away from landing
The gambling gone bad
Whether the dreams move uphill or downhill, they never return.

–Paul Corman Roberts



Hank III
had a bomb
tech rebuild his
guitar and amp
only way to
harness all this
all these folks
treated like
skin cancer
buttocks scabs
rat a tat tat
ecstacy sonic
with thick


had the
drug czar
in a hardship
headlock when
a cop came
around the
corner and
thought Barry
was bad and
side kicked him
into a crumpled
silence and the
drug czar got
up and shot them
both w/ a Glock
10mm taken
off another corpse.

–David S. Pointer


I have been walking alongside
an unknown country road
thumb out all day long now.

it is summer & the heat
beats down on me
without mercy
reminding me of another
country years ago

cars slow down
& come to a stop
only to peel out
& spray me with gravel
& taunting laughter
as I run to them for a lift

most of them young kids,
some not so young but
behaving like bullies

a convertible,
four young girls
(perhaps cheerleaders)
all but the driver
flash their young
breasts & the two
in the back moon me

watching their young
bare asses disappear
is like watching my
youth leaving me
in their rear view mirror
as I walk into the night


–F.N. Wright


when the

its legs
had been
shot off
it lay
on its
side in
the long
night of
& began
to tell
stories from
back in
the eyes

–Todd Moore

On the disco plaza
by the light of the chupacabra moon
we did the tequila tango until the local chicos y chicas
threw Virgin Mary tortillas at us and begged
us in Spanish to get a fucking room.

In the middle of the witching hour the ghost of Selena
got in bed with us and asked us to rub her feet.
I was pretty turned on but I was shy so I filled the tub
with Epsom salt and hot water and soaked with my
eyes closed, dreaming of the Gulf of Mexico back
when it was electricity free.

–Misti Rainwater-Lites


the telephone rings

he doesn’t answer
it is never the call he wants
words seem wasted on any other call

he unplugs the telephone
and walks across the room

he talks to the orchid
budding on the window sill

the orchid listens
but say’s nothing

they both see the same world through the window
and neither has the words to explain it


a crossword laid to rest
on the dusty coffee table
reflects the empty space

–Pete Lally



Hey Todd
where you
going w/
that gun in
yr. hand?
Who that
foxy lady
in the red
She’s my
one & only
last love
& we’re
heading South
for the Winter
Way South
& we ain’t
never coming

–Alan Catlin


as dillinger waits

an outlaw
shot the last
colt forty
through the
like tequila
shot glasses
slammed on a
sawdust floor
and tonight
will dance
for no one

–Scot Young

5 Responses to “a rusty truck tribute to todd moore by rd armstrong, charles plymell, fn wright, karl koweski, alan catlin, a.d. winans, paul corman roberts, david s pointer, misti rainwater lites, pete lally & scot young”

  1. Steven Gulvezan Says:

    A fine tribute to a fine poet. Todd told stories from way back in his eyes…

  2. excellent job & teamwork by scot & rd!!!!!

  3. Scot, thanks for using my work. It’s an honor to appear with such a phalanx of talented writers…and it will be even more exciting to publish some of the same folks in my tribute to Todd next March…so watch for it all you sons of guns!

  4. Great issue and tribute, glad I caught this!

  5. simply amazing and not so ‘simply’ amazing. thanks for all these posts from all these talented individuals. truly inspirational. best, winnie
    p.s. Mr. Moore – RIP…

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