The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Timothy Geiger

Brad Meinholdt Can Burn in Hell


Brad Meinholdt helped me write the Book of Evil
a notebook-paper comic-book of demented stick figures,
dismembered soldiers, doctors wielding chainsaws,
devil dogs and dead babies—a collection of sick funnies
with a twisted pubescent boy’s sense of everything wrong.

Brad Meinholdt wished he had a camera, a snapshot
when he put the firecracker in the baby sparrow’s mouth.
“Inchers” we called them. I couldn’t believe he lit it.
I didn’t want to look though he said there wasn’t anything left.
I kept imagining the mother bird returning to the nest.

Brad Meinholdt threw a clothes-pole like a javelin
just missing his older brother’s eye. He thought it was funny
the way his brother dropped like a plank to the ground,
the blood ran a straight red line down his brow, off his chin.
His brother needed ten stitches and wore an eye-patch for a week.

Brad Meinholdt thought the pillowcase stuffed with kittens
made a sick music each time he swung it hard against the tree.
The blue fabric stopped wriggling, seeped an orange sunset
when he finally grew bored and tossed it aside. I thought
his laughter came from someplace dark I never meant to go.

Brad Meinholdt held me in a bear-hug so hard I couldn’t breathe
till I swore I learned my lesson and would never tell a soul.
In a world of grass-stained knees, endless August baseball games,
he stuffed pipe-bombs in a cold corner of the basement,
pure fucking cruelty in his fourteen-year-old heart.



Timothy Geiger

Amanda from Queens


In a warehouse in Manhattan on my twenty-fourth birthday
                    I danced on ecstasy
with five hundred other bodies, transformed by the strobe
into half-light, half-shape,
                                        a cigarette exhale making all things profound.
A single black bra-strap
hung from the curve
                                of a shoulder that could have belonged
to a beautiful woman—cherry-twist lips around a mouthful of ice
I kissed full and hard.
                                An elliptical groove of drum and bass
pounded the day-glow green wall-tiles—
                                                            a backdrop
for three topless girls having their nipples painted orange
by a man in a Dr. Seuss hat.
                                        The orange was really more of a blood red
reflected and changed like everything under the spectrum of black light—
everything dangled from a loose black strap.
                                                                        I remember the arch
of a naked back beneath my fingers, chestnut hair, mascara blue eyes,
standing on her tiptoes
                                in pink go-go boots
to peek out the club’s tiny back window next to my head. Like a wave
my night ended
                                when she led my hand
to the bulge between her legs.
The whole world erupted in the morning light
                                                            as she pulled back the curtains,
shot me a smile of polished glass lifting her skirt,
and wrote her name in front of everyone right there on the wall.



Timothy Geiger

Driving into Oblivion


Because my dog reminds me
the shortest distance between two points
equals the least amount of fun,
I take her on a long drive to get beyond
the city-limits’ sprawling happenstance.

She must look so happy to everyone we pass,
head out the window, her ears are spastic wings.
Her tongue is a pink-and-black spotted flag
waving in a thirty-five mile-an-hour
no-passing-zone wind.

Until the idiot in the cherry-red Camaro
swerves a bee-line and cuts us off,
and the simple joy I felt watching my dog is gone.
Now I’m angry, seasoned with a dash of terror—
what if that jackass lost control?

And suddenly, everyone is in a big hurry
just to get the fuck around me.
I’m doing the speed limit and cars are whizzing by
oblivious to any traffic in the oncoming lane.
Tons of steel, spinning white-walls, missiles made of fiberglass.

“The road is getting smaller!” says Chicken Little.
No one listens to Chicken Little,
and I’m beginning to see the road as an abstract painting—
indecipherable blurs of bright metallic paint,
chrome highlights and an occasional blood-red streak.

It’s like I’m careening through a videogame—
one hand on the steering wheel,
and one finger working the electric-window buttons
that lock, load, and fire the heat-seeking rocket-launcher
targeting any car that dares to try to pass me.

I’m lost in the country, surrounded by murderers,
chain-smoking and suspicious of anything that moves,
and my poor dog—her snout
pinched tight in my rocket-launcher—
is whimpering for me to stop.




TIMOTHY GEIGER is the author of two full-length collections, The Curse of Pheromones, (Main Street Rag Press, 2008) and Blue Light Factory, (Spoon River Poetry Press, 1999) and eight chapbooks. His work has also been published in such venues as Poetry, America, Florida Review, New Delta Review, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review and Mid-American Review. He is also the proprietor of the Aureole Press, a limited edition poetry fine-press housed at The University of Toledo, where he teaches creative Writing and letterpress printing.



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