Brooke Salisbury – Four Poems

Bo Real: An Introduction

Bo Real takes up with his honey bride
in the mountain shadows under NoHorn
with his big dog Cherry and three chickens.
They call him The Old Spiced Tiger.

If you asked him, he would describe his life
as a real-life-action-thriller-happnin’-like-a-fly!
His eyes are a zoom lens focusing on shelved
breasts, straw baskets and windowsill pies.

He is an expert in the habitats of crawdads,
judging water supply safety by one finger
in the creekbank and a mighty lick: Reminds
him of his mother: pH 3; like the taste of lemondrops
in a girl’s mouth in the back seat: perfect balance.

A decree has been cast out o’er the plains
of his mind that all ladies in white dresses may
place the curve of a painted fingernail
in the sickle shaped scar in his left cheek.

You know, there’s always two stories to a scar,
one for the ladies and one for the dirty-hand gents.
2 days before the Armistice saloon closed, for the honeys.
But this one makes the hero: he balanced
a penny on his cheek for seven days
just so he could buy his ma some bread.

His bride likes that one the best though.
He retells it while brushing the straw out of her hair.



Midnight Daddies of the Coon Hunting Society
Adopt Bo as one of their own.
A principled union which stands for
Broken hearts carved in trees,
Rabbit feet and pockets
And women who pack a flask instead of cosmetics.

But the only place to go hunting for coons
In this neck of the woods
Is the forest owned by Burly Haysucker,
Exiled for his wandering hands and smoldering words.
Who, at the delicate age of thirteen,
Had acquired a dozen beebee imbedded
Squirrels and blackbirds which he presented
To his girl’s father as proof of his worth.
Last time the Daddies went out, Mrs. Haysucker
Came out with a patch on her eye yelling
Something ‘bout skinning hide and babies.

Bo found himself with his big gun, weaseling
Through the wood whispering
‘stick a needle in my eye’ for the rest of the hunt.
When he actually fond his tick fat coon,
It reminded him too much of his blossom youth hero
That dark one, Zorro,
So swash buckling his rifle, he scared it away.



There is a game that all boys play
if they have grown up in the shadows
of cliffs and watched choosy pigs
on their neighbor’s farm
pick over their Sunday leftovers.

Taking an ancient neighbor’s walking stick
turns into a game of baseball, pitching crab
apples from an anthill. One commandment
recited for each apple.
It is called “Cud.”

There are two games that the girls are raised on:

1.Trying to count the new hairs on a fine looking
boy’s chin
(steal one and mix with a tea of anise, lemon seeds,
and grandmother’s buttons = his true love forever.)

2.The one two three step square dance in a star where eyelashes
dip impulsive glances to the boys in time with the fiddle bow.
Whoever drops first loses; we call this one “Leftover Meat for the Flies.”

For those interested in woodworking and the culinary arts:
Practice dropping hankies.


Demolition Derby

The slime of mustard and pig
fat drips off his shiny red chin,
his cheeks, a seven year old shield
from the slaps of his older brothers

are puffed out as properly
as a blowfish.
They call him an accident,
an unplanned creamy splotch
on the sheets. He watches

the legs of the women
walk by, their black leggings
threadbare at the seams,
and their pasty white thighs
are smooched together
in a kiss. Harleys, rainbows,

and gas station emblems
hug their chests like drooping
goiters. The sun glassed faces
of the drivers wave to the crowd
as the announcer advertises their sponsor

The Bobcat, “so simple
even a woman can use it,”
everyone laughs, especially
Dad who is like most there–
gray, ballcapped, sweating
dirt and old spice.

He squeals like a pig
at the chopping block. These cars
have no mufflers or windshields
but he urges them on,
with his hand in the air
like he’s wielding a lasso,

or choking a chicken.
The black exhaust and mud
spin a curtain over the audience
and they inhale it all
as the underbelly of a car.