2012 Best of the Net Nominations

The Dead Mule has submitted the following poets and their poems [published in the Dead Mule to the 2012] to Sundress Publications: The Best of the Net.  Congratulations to all.

Cathy Smith Bowers – “A Book a Day” – published April 2012

Norvin Dickerson – “NASCAR Poet” – published October 2011

Shenan Hahn – “To the Coyote on the Side of the Interstate” – published February 2012 (scroll down)

Michael Evan Parker – “Old Woman Sweeping” – published June 2012

Tim Peeler – “Drive-In 48” – published April 2012 (scroll down)

Staci R. Schoenfeld – “World Wide Web” – published March 2012

Tim Peeler: Four Poems

Southern Legitimacy Statement:

I come from cotton farmers on the one side and subsistence farmers on the other. I grew up in a parsonage that was located on a hill above a road that forked three ways; each fork led to a separate washboard red dirt road. During the summer they poured oil on the roads. The smell of those roads is embedded in my memory.

Drive-In 41

Get away from me, he said,
And she knew from the tone
That she’d heard so many times
That her best was not enough
Again, and she fought back tears
For just a moment, then grabbed
Her purse and started across the
Lot to the concession stand
Where she’d ask to use the phone
And call her sister who’d say
I told you so and well, I guess
I can come pick you up
If I have to, and then she’d
Have to wait there in the glaring
Fluorescent light, in the nauseating
Popcorn and grill smells, and she’d
Stand there trying to be as small
As possible, watching the darkness
Through the smudged window,
Hating herself and Jesus.


Drive-In 44

He wasn’t supposed to go
Before me, leaving me here
To deal with the house, the bills,
The crazy grandkids. We were
A team: I cooked, cleaned,
Did for the kids, and he
Worked on the car, carried
The trash out, the groceries in,
Took the boys fishing, to the races,
Taught them how to clean a gun,
How to train a dog.
I thought he was sleeping
Or thinking like he always did
In his recliner on a Sunday after lunch.
We were at the drive-in
Watching Cannonball Run,
A movie we already seen once,
And he never made no sound
To let me know something’s wrong.
His lights just went out
Like God cut off his switch
And left me here,
Gray-haired, fifty-four,
Without no man at all.


Drive-In 45

He was the king of the drive-in;
Nobody took his favorite spot,
The space just to the right
Of the concession stand,
So that he could swagger
But a few steps to procure
The queen’s popcorn
Or to make a quick inspection
Of his look. Before the feature
Began, he’d wipe the dew
Off the hood of his 396,
Windex the windshield,
Carefully wiping it with a fluffy
Stolen Holiday Inn towel.
Before he got back in the car,
He’d check the perfection
Of his snakeskin cowboy boots,
Flicking a speck of dirt from a toe.
During all this, the queen
Would freshen up her lipstick,
Pooching her lips at the car mirror and
Unbutton her second blouse button.
The king ran multiple poker houses
And the queen was a cosmetological
Entrepreneur, and they reigned
Over their royal Saturday nights
For nearly a score of seasons
Till the king shot and buried
All his farm hogs one night,
And no one knew what
They might have eaten.


Drive-In 48

They found a manikin in a dumpster,
Dressed it in one of their dad’s clothes,
Laid it on the side of the dirt road
Near the old iron bridge and hid
Where they could watch drivers stop,
Frantically thinking they had hit someone,
Cursing, stomping through the brush.
When they were finished, they’d head
To the drive-in, two guys up front,
Two in the trunk, and they’d mix
Vodka in suicides and smoke cigars
Till they fought each other in the gravel covered lot,
Or one of them puked in the back seat,
Either way, an act of God.