Poetry: Liberal Arts by Damon Hubbs

Liberal Arts

party at the pink house tonight
Arty there’s a party invited us
he’s like Carl the Janitor in The Breakfast Club
the eyes and ears of the institution
this particular institution in upstate NY, not Shermer, Il
Arty buys us 40s when we play the corner at Circle Park
circles don’t have corners but we’re not very good at math
liberal arts college in September
but there’s time to kill so we drive around
and around like we’re in The Last Teen Film.
A giallo sunset slides off Eighth St. and into Sand
“End times,” you say, grinding the stick shift
we are comets of cool appraisal outshining
the schema of small town, the sunset, the end times.
I smell Fanta on your lips when you say the only reason
you chose that school is because the Necronomicon
is said to be sealed up in a tunnel under Tupelo Pond
we pass the Metropolitan Diner, the Neptune Diner
a 24-hour gym planked between an ATM and Rod & Reel.
The brooding German exchange student is in the Met
broodily making plans to exchange body fluids with a girl
with artistic hair who we can’t make out / maybe Monica / could be Kim
he’s smoking like a jaunty SS officer.
We are comets of cool appraisal outshining
the drunk guy outside the Old Spanish Tavern
trying to stuff his girlfriend’s (?) poodle into a yellow Planet Aid bin
It’s 5 pm, too early to do the drop
we watch summer tourists get stuck in the Arby’s drive-thru
pick-up truck and RV camper foothilled / pedal / to the metal
you say there’s a clam shack in New England resembling a giant clam box
just us now on the corner and it’s noiseless
the crossing guard’s vest like Razz Apple Fun Dip
but there’s no children, no traffic, just us
and the reflective vest lures crows from the trees.
The crossing guard swats at the black birds with his STOP paddle.
But they peck and peck and each peck is like the stab
of a broken heart

Damon Hubbs writes poems about Richard Scarry, Italo disco, and girls who cry at airports. He's the author of three chapbooks: Coin Doors & Empires (Alien Buddha Press), The Day Sharks Walk on Land (Alien Buddha Press) and Fly Creek (forthcoming from Naked Cat Publishing). He lives in New England.