by Robert Joe Stout
TRUCK STOP, DUNIGAN, CALIFORNIA
CHARRED BACON SMELL, short-order shouts, truckers
hunched like bison ready to stampede. Brash men,
they stop here twice a week, chide waitresses
about their hairdos, petticoats, but tip
three times what Highway 5 L.A.-to-Portland
tourists do. Gentler folk prefer the higher priced
slick-menued '50s imitation two miles down the road.
But easing into arguments—gutless quarterbacks,
rigged smog emission tests, ex-wives who call
for child support ten days before it's due—
I sense a coarse instinctive fuck-it-brother!
willingness to give a guy a ride to Pendleton
or Bakersfield, a scrub-your-hands sit-down-and-laugh
at fatal accidents, kids flunking college, Keno rules
ROBERT JOE STOUT is a lifelong journalist now living in Oaxaca, Mexico who has won awards for spot news writing and editing. This past year his publications include the poetry volume Monkey Screams (FutureCycle Press) and appearances in Exit 13, Studio 1 and U.S. #1 Worksheets, among other magazines and journals.