by Robert Joe Stout



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.

return to Issue Nineteen