Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vamps, Little Sandwiches & the Art of Turning Heads - Poetry by Travis Blair

Hospital Vamp
Five AM, the door flies open
and she bursts into my room,
her lab coat flapping like a cape.
She mutters gleefully, I’ve come
to take your blood,
a tourniquet around my arm,
glides her pointy finger over
engorged veins. Finding what
she wants, she whispers Oh! This
one will do!
 Her Bela Lugosi cackle
coaxes a needle into my flesh,
blood shoots up the tube. I lie
in helpless surrender while she
gazes into my eyes. She smiles,
snaps the rubber tourniquet
off my arm, flies from the room—
a bat rushing back to her cave
before sunlight arrives. I’m left
beneath the morphine drip,
listening to her laughter fade.
(published in Red River Review, August 2013)

Crossing the Desert
The Angus steak burger would taste better
without the chipotle sauce, but this train
runs to Mexico so I’ll take it like a man.
I’d prefer the taste of guacamole spread,
the cool slick kind Bianca whips up.
To be more specific, a batch like she made
for my fortieth birthday and smeared
all over my chest. Well, you can guess
what happened next, and I think about it
as I stare out the dining car window.
I see buzzards perched on saguaros
which reminds me of old Road Runner
cartoons, the way the vultures sit
with shoulders hunched when Wile E
Coyote blasts by on his way to get hit
by a train crossing the desert. This has
nothing to do with guacamole or chipotle
sauce, it’s just the waitress serving lunch
reminds me of a skinny road runner with
her blue-grey pants and orange knee-high
socks and the way she struts like nothing
can ever touch her. And nothing can.
After all, I’m no threat, and Poncho Villa
was killed a hundred years ago begging
his men to make up something to tell
people he said when he died,
something that sounds cooler than
Vámanos! Let’s run that stop sign.
(published in Rusty Truck Literary Magazine, July 8, 2013)

Twenty-eight months passed
before she returned to Austin,
walked down The Drag, stopped
at the University Newsstand.
She pretended to browse magazines
but her hands shook. She couldn't
turn the pages. She felt the ominous
clock tower looming behind her,
28 stories tall, its shadow falling
across her back like cross-hairs
in the scope of Whitman's rifle.
The crack of shots rang out
in her memory, the slow-motion
fall of a man, her own frantic drop
behind a curbed Nash Rambler.
She flinched at 28 rifle pops, watched
a blood-pool seep from beneath
the man’s head onto a Batman
comic book. She remembered how life
faded from his eyes, how they glazed
over, unaware. It seemed forever
before help came, dragged them out,
but she remembered looking at her
watch. Only 28 minutes had passed.
(published in Gutter Eloquence, April 2013)

Busting out of Balmorhea
for Mexico
90 miles an hour
in a Hemi Head
halfway between
and Marfa, shirt
blown open
while the Stones
lay down Hip Shake
on the stereo
like it’s 1972.

to Mick Taylor’s
guitar licks
and a Warner Bros
Giant sky
like a silk serape
from the Guadalupe
mountains to
the Chisos.

Gotta make
before the music
from rock’n’roll
to Mariachi
and the last
boat crosses
the smug
Rio Grande.
(published in Red Fez, March 2013)

Art of Turning Heads
Amy, over pasta pollo
and a vintage Chardonnay,
smiles like a feral feline,
purrs in my ear, Maybe Baby
this will lift your spirits.
Rising from the table practiced
in the art of turning heads
she slow-walks across the room
sultry as a wet dream
glancing over shoulder to see
if I am watching her
and really turns it on for me.
Every eye at Terilli's follows
the rhythmic motion of her hips.
Aroma of desire rises
like smoke rings in the air
as conversation ceases
and wives become invisible.
Looks of envy dart my way.
I sit taller in my chair
facing a hundred looters ready
to kill or die for her beauty.
Ships set sail with pirates
come to pillage,
steal my sylphlike treasure.
She returns to me, navigating
shark infested waters,
plants a kiss on my lips.
Waves rise high in the sea storm
toppling ships, crushing
any man whose hopes still live.
We exit the café, my arm
around her waist. She asks
Do you feel better now?
I grin as drowning men swim
after fleeing life boats filled
with angry wives rowing fast
towards distant shores.
(from Travis Blair's book Little Sandwiches.
published Jan. 2013 by Old Seventy Creek Press)

About the Author:

Travis Blair lives near the University of Texas campus in Arlington. He is author of two poetry collections, Train to Chihuahuaand Little Sandwiches, and has poems in various international literary journals. He has 2 daughters and 5 grandkids and hides from them frequently in Manhattan and Mazatlán, Mexico.

Photo Credits: 1st photo by John Hunter; 2nd photo by Leila A. Fortier; 3rd photo of book model Katherine Nguyen by Travis Blair

Book can be purchased at Amazon: