Guinotte Wise – two poems

Between Wars

The war that split up all the families
Spit up all the grieving heaving
Yeah that scary war with newsreels
goose-steps heil hell and those
others with thick glasses big teeth
in all the comics that even Superman
couldn’t make me feel safe in the
gathering of paper and steel and
then the atomic bomb and then it
all began again. My old man might
have kissed that nurse in Times Square
his sailor hat squared on top
bending her back did she resist
and my stepfather packed the bags
and said goodbye to the Manhattan
Project that so taxed his engineering
nuclear fission nuclear fusion
made a world of smithereens
and I got a Red Ryder pump
to X the eyes of all the commies
tube of BBs road to ruin sure thing
being Mr. Death and more wars
ramping escalating upping ante
never ending notwithstanding
peaceniks beatniks signs in yards
and coexisting bumper stickers


Reno Pete

He drove a Lincoln Zephyr down to Caliente
fled to San Diego with the money in his shoes.
Circled back to Reno, then to Laughlin, Kansas City, danced with all the women on the way
Lost the Lincoln out in Vegas, vowed he’d never marry, off to Louisiana, ended up blacked out by Frisco Bay
The women said he danced and drunk or sober never minded wins or losses
Never minded cuts or bruises never wept nor cast aspersions never slowed his way of going always happy always spending always flashing teeth
and dancing teaching how it’s done his way
They knew he was a boxer, and therein was his dancing grace and spinning moves and laughing and yes he was a ladies’ man but never on the ropes of love and never down for long, much less for ten
Spectator shoes of black and white and moves transcendent lit the night
He danced and fought and gambled and made his weekly comebacks
To delight the whirling women, light up another fight card,
head for Caliente, the money in his shoes.


Guinotte Wise lives on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection Night Train, Cold Beer (Pelican Grove Press, 2013) won publication by a university press and not much acclaim. Two more books since. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it.

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