Seattle, Washington

30 September 2006

Three Poems

Bryan with a fucking Y
some nights I don't sleep
the boys

Poet's Bio


bryan with a fucking y

Jaime and I met a guy on Craig’s List
(not what you’re thinking)
his name was Bryan
with a Y
I emphasize the letter
because my Uncle Brian
with an I
told me never trust the Y spellers
they fucked grandmothers
he said

so we met the guy
to test drive
his 85 Volvo
Smurf blue
a few dents
on the door
and on the rear
a crack
in the driver’s side mirror
but only 95k on it

it rode well
flew on the freeway
didn’t look like anyone
poached elephants
in the back seat

so we bought it

yeah, it doesn’t sound like
we have a reason to be pissed
but Bryan with a fucking Y
had the Smurfmobile
inspected at Midas
where they missed
half the shit wrong with it

Bryan with a fucking Y
didn’t say
it needed a G in work
before it’d drive
and everything he said
about buying the thing
from an old couple
who drove less than I did
was bullshit

a month before
he bought it
from a dealer
on Aurora
where I’m sure
at least
one hooker
got done
on the bumper

Jaime found that out
when she wasted a day
at the DMV
changing the title over
but couldn’t
they told her
the car wasn’t in
Bryan with a fucking Y’s name
and could be stolen

that’s why
if I ever see
Bryan with a fucking Y
I’m going to punch him
in the eye
take his driver’s license
and draw an I
over the Y

then maybe
he’ll live right



some nights i don't sleep

rolling around bed
like a tornado
whirling pillows
and blankets
on the floor
but not that light
from the porch

it doesn’t help
having a cat
balled on the back
of my head
a dog
at my feet
and Jaime
kicking me
for stealing
the mattress
the animals
haven’t got

but it’s not always them
it’s nothing
a dripping faucet
an itchy ass
the dogs yipping
next door
the thought
of getting up
in just a few more

or it’s everything
reworking lines
of old poems
rewording sentences
of old conversations
rethinking why
I don’t move home

I try to think good things then
about Jaime
she looks happy
like a fork
and knife
in a napkin
the cat and dog too
it’s the only time
they get along

then a horn honks
a gun’s shot
the cops stop someone
on MLK
I get up
pass the kitchen clock
that’s it
I’ll be up
til the crickets stop

by 4:19 I’m out
like the dog
the cat
the woman
but not like that light
it’s going
all night



the boys

mother calls
only says hello
when I hear the phone
go against her chest
she takes a deep breath

I hear something thrown
then she picks up
says Lefty’s messing with Tux
on the couch
eating dinner
in the litter box
this little devil’s going at his butt

I don’t know what to say
so mother goes on
Lefty wants to play
all day and night
kills mice
fights every cat in sight
he’s already been bit twice
you’d think he’d stop

so I say
maybe not
the cat’s still young
having fun
but mother disagrees
says you’ll see
when your baby
leaves a mouse head
in your bed
it won’t be cute then



Brian McGuiganBRIAN McGUIGAN works at Richard Hugo House, is co-editor of when it rains from the ground up, and producer of “A Night of Cheap Wine and Poetry” series. Spankstra Press published his collection of poetry, More Than I Left Behind, in 2006. For more McGuigan: