Tuesday, April 23, 2013

a poem by b.j. best

I recently enjoyed B.J. Best's collection of retro video game-inspired poems But Our Princess Is in Another Castle.  Here's one of my favorites from the book.


Sometimes, in the closet of 3 a.m., I imagine the journey we didn’t take. The go-kart track in Fargo where we slammed around corners as easily as swinging a stopwatch on its lanyard. The clouds slinking like submarines through the ocean of an Oklahoma sky. Otters in the Snake River. The girl in the sporting goods store in Cranbrook, British Columbia—purple dress, pink hair, a skull-and-crossbones tattoo on her ankle—standing between us and the fishing poles, saying, “It’s all in the wrist, boys, it’s all in the wrist.”

Then I get out of bed, stand on the deck, look at the stars. The bullfrogs glunk their love songs to the moon. The grass blades gather beads for their morning tiaras of dew. Even the highway is done with driving for now.

I go back to bed, try dipping my toes in the river of sleep. I can almost picture the sunset over the Platte River we didn’t see, ripe as a nectarine, or hear water churning like an engine in a ravine below while I straddle a fallen log.

Some things are too dangerous to cross.

B.J. Best is the author of the new collection But Our Princess Is in Another Castle (Rose Metal Press) and two previous books of poetry: Birds of Wisconsin (New Rivers Press) and State Sonnets (sunnyoutside). He is also the author of three chapbooks from Centennial Press, most recently the prose poem collection Drag: Twenty Short Poems about Smoking. He teaches at Carroll University and lives in the Wisconsin countryside with one wife, one son, three cats, and nine video game systems. He asserts he is the only person in the history of the world to have beaten Super Mario Bros.—with an actual Nintendo and television—on a pontoon boat. Visit B.J.’s website.

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