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JESSE JAMES WAS A COWARD by Timothy Tarkelly

Posted in Timothy Tarkelly with tags on September 23, 2020 by Scot

JESSE JAMES WAS A COWARD

Jesse James was a coward,
a half-assed trigger pulled from a Kansas City paper,
where rich folks long since cornered
the market on low rent heroes and
a sore loser complex
as deep as the Missouri, as wide as Missouri
as miserable as the grey-coated, blood stained
losers who came back to sharecrop their way
through life, drink their Kentucky hang-ups,
leave the local swill for the federals.
He carved Dixie on his lips and bit every time
he heard someone whistle the Star-Spangled Banner.
Train robbing, shooting bankers just for looking like
America. A place he lived, cursed for welcoming him back home,
whose ground he filled with shallow graves and
a shallow definition of liberty. One of those
feeble-minded outlaws
who never could realize they’re not special.
They too must give thanks for what they have
rather than burn us for what they don’t.

____________

Timothy Tarkelly’s work has appeared in The Daily Drunk, As It Ought To Be Magazine, Back Patio Press, and many other magazines, journals, etc. He has two poetry collections published by Spartan Press: Luckhound (2020) and Gently in Manner, Strongly in Deed: Poems on Eisenhower (2019). When he’s not writing, he teaches in Southeast Kansas.

Home by Timothy Tarkelly

Posted in Timothy Tarkelly with tags on May 13, 2019 by Scot

 

 

We couldn’t help but jump, the speakers rattling something shitty against the noise of the dirt road, but we knew this song like we knew our families, like we knew each other, the only four people in the world with good taste in music, who understand what a refuge you can find circling your hometown, like we knew these roads, worn grains in the cracked Midwestern wood, soft to the touch, but look like a splintered mess. We couldn’t help but jump, thrashing our bodies to the bassline, la-la-la-ing along, la-la-la-ing like we knew what it was to be older, to be us in ten years, to be us still together, ‘cause surely that’s the way that works.