• Keith Banner

Those Stories

he chewed tobacco

in his la-z-boy

this bronze spittoon

was on the right hand

side of it

on the floor

he'd pick it up

and spit out brown

juice into it


guiding light

there was a smell

from that spittoon

in the air

not nasty really

kind of

like old pulled weeds

that smell they give off

and him chawing down on that shit

but quietly

horn-rimmed glasses

and gray-green

work clothes

a big wad in his cheek

strange pleasure


some nurse crying

on tv

he always told me

about the timbering he did

about driving the


truck in winter before that

always ate 2 breakfasts

one real early like

4 am, cereal and toast, and then

a walk around

the property outside, made-up

chores of some kind

still dark out

and then around 7:30

or 8 a bigger breakfast

eggs country ham


the works

her strolling around

the kitchen

making it all

bitching about

this and that

big lady but


always in motion

always getting something


that one story about the bobcat

when he was timbering

and she always

corrected him

just an old tomcat gone


and she was always

talking about how

that little store down in the valley

would never make it

because the owner was so


as the world turns too

he loved that one

he would spit that

tobacco juice out

hung up on every word and scene

at supper

he'd tell me about how this one doctor

on that show

really was a nice man

but those others ones

weren't -- he saved that one girl's life, he'd say

and she'd be doling out

potato chips

or whatever

never sitting down

pimento-chesse sandwiches

with sliced tomatoes

and she'd say

real mean but kind of sweet

those stories

you love

rotting your brain

don't you?

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