I used to work the night shift at the gas station on Mission Bay road

Three poems by Frank Montesonti

Frank Montesonti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope and Hope Tree (How to Prune Fruit Trees)
  • Frank Montesonti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope and Hope Tree (How to Prune Fruit Trees)

Truckin’

  • I used to work the night shift
  • at the gas station on Mission Bay road.
  • The half-hour before sunrise
  • the still gauzy, dream-spattered
  • would float in, and we would
  • conduct our transactions without speaking,
  • in night currency, for night goods.
  • Such an economy has never left me.
  • As I kid, I loved the car wash
  • when the car is completely immersed,
  • but I was safe in a bubble
  • from the roaring outside.
  • Then you emerge clean. I used to
  • be addicted to video games
  • because I could start over.
  • People say, “Keep on Truckin”
  • because truckin’ you don’t do
  • in a half-hour; you can’t even stand
  • in the rain under a shoe repair sign
  • for a half hour before some kind old man
  • asks if everything is okay. It’s not.
  • Truckin’ is a matter of distance.
  • Each second the blackbird shines
  • more obsidian and the sky is raked
  • of adjectives. But when one
  • is truckin’, one hauls
  • straight through the night and the night opens up
  • for the truck and the man.
  • From Arts Grant.

Electron Cloud

  • Three light bulbs arranged in three sockets in a straight line. One of the light bulbs has burnt out. To view the piece, the viewer must wear a mask that removes the concepts of time, space, and order. Therefore when viewed it will be impossible to say which light bulb is burnt out, yet completely apparent that one light bulb is burnt out. In essence, each light bulb will be both on and off simultaneously. Or more specifically, the probability of each light bulb being on will be .333333 percent. The room containing the exhibit will be air-conditioned to exactly sixty five degrees Fahrenheit, and the sound of rustling leaves will vary in intensity with a soft gale created by the air conditioning so as to give the auditory and tactile impression to the viewer that he or she is standing on a street during the first cool day of autumn.

Insomnia

  • In this piece the piece can’t sleep, no matter what it is. It is a painting that can’t sleep. It is a sculpture that can’t sleep. It is an instillation where an empty suit of armor is playing chess that can’t sleep. And the pieces are in the Museum of Eternal Wakefulness. And there is a conscious river that flows through the museum, thinking only of its estuary and never its tributaries. The museum never closes and the pieces in the museum have no concept of sleep. But some, some of the really good ones, suggest the beauty of oblivion.

Frank Montesonti is the author of two full-length collections of poetry, Blight, Blight, Blight, Ray of Hope, winner of the 2011 Barrow Street Book Prize chosen by D.A. Powell, and the book of erasure, Hope Tree (How to Prune Fruit Trees) by Black Lawrence Press. He is also author of the chapbook A Civic Pageant, also from Black Lawrence Press. His poems have appeared in journals such as Tin House, AQR, Black Warrior Review, Poet Lore, and Poems and Plays, among many others. A longtime resident of Indiana, he now lives in Los Angeles and is the lead faculty of the MFA program at National University.

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