Saturday, January 4, 2014

The Sound of Sugar....Ryan J Browne



Theory of Spall

Ft. Carson, Colorado

i.

It’s your job now. Creep
beneath them with a gun.
Blunt the dumb and serrate

work of time and sand.
Douse those Hummers
parked in rows

like ornamental gourds
set out to dry, spray them down
with the pink Product.

There’s vats of the stuff
in the white truck, and it sloshes
like a filling piggy

bank when tanks cross you up
and you have to unkink
the hose to your air gun.

You get Product in your mouth—
and taste gristle—because
you’ve removed the mask

you’re supposed to wear.
A song kept getting caught
in it and steaming up the goggles

you’re supposed to wear
but have also taken off.
You get Product in your eyes.

It biodegrades. You’re safe.
You’re on a military base
where the sun bleaches and dyes

you when you’re up top
blasting each line
of rivets, every hinge,

swinging grille, seam
or possible seam, bolt, nut,
washer, mirror joint, antenna.

Underneath, another anatomy.
Spine, scapulae, ribs, hips, coccyx,
hunks of grease and mud, a whole steel ruck

you let your air gun joyride across.
Shoot from the hip.
And those holes punched through into the cab

you first thought were from bullets or shrapnel,
dreaming up and immediately dismissing the carnage
boxed in above you, they blow like a jug

keeping irregular time
for the hissing refrain of pressurized air.
You’re thorough enough.

But if you miss one bolt on one Hummer
you miss it on them all.
But that one bolt, well, it may not matter.

ii.

This morning you sweat booze,
and the whole damn thing seems worse.
Your skull is a soft warhead

you wish to squash
against a tank’s armor,
but the tanks are off-limits.

Though their cannons are named
do not speak their names
above a whisper.

DARTH VADER
DONKEY PUNCH
DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY

They’ve been tearing through
the prairie like flat havoc
riding heaves of friction,

their treads looping infinity,
their engines jet,
their camo cryptic,

you lose them
in a dust cloud,
their camo dazzling,

some still forest
green, brown, mustard,
and they scramble

what sobriety pools
in the shade of other ordnance
you break beside.

One is in for repair, the turbine
hauled out by another Abrams
that’s equipped like a Hercules

beetle. The process is laborious
and loud. You press a stiff finger
into that plush where your neck

meets your head and hear
the insane hum of planets
and feel as though you have

a way to position your body
so that it may hurt
appropriately, like when a leg

injury forces your arms
into right angles
and your back to a stretcher.

Each bite of the warm
cold cut sandwich drops into your gutless
stomach like a bolide.

The engine’s returned and smears
sound and air behind, almost blows
the decal off the side of the Product truck.

Jesus, this Cyclops has another eye!
And when both open
throttle the world dilates.



About the Poet:

Ryan J. Browne runs Poetry & Pints in Madison, Wisconsin, a reading series that pairs writers and his homebrewed beer. He holds an MFA from The University of Alabama. His first collection is Outside Come In, and poems from that collection and his second manuscript can be found in Cimarron Review, The Cincinnati Review, Hayden’s Ferry Review, and The Journal. His favorite bittering hop is Magnum.


About the Sound of Sugar:

We’ve loved reading the work that we’ve published (clearly), so now we want an opportunity to better hear our contributors. We will feature an audio recording of a poem from one of our seven issues, read by the poet and updated every couple of weeks. This an open invitation to all contributors from any of our issues, we were delighted to print your work, now we’re eager to hear it. 

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