Skip to main content

Robert Beveridge

Queen of Pentacles

The bar is only less than dim
when the door opens, just before dusk
and she enters, metal box strapped
to her back, as it has been
every afternoon, she tells me,
for the past fifty-one years.
A dollar a tamale, six for five
and she hasn’t raised her prices
since the day Newt Gingrich
signed the Contract with America.

I’ve never been a fan of that texture,
the mix of sand and dough, a filling
that never has enough spice to balance,
but I know I’ll have to drive in eight
or nine hours, and this well bourbon
isn’t gonna absorb itself, so five bucks
later there’s a bamboo leaf in front of me,
six tamales still cornhusked across it.

I finish my drink, stick another five
in the mouth for a refill, pull out
my pocketknife. The tie falls away
like the alcohol-aided hours of wait
between the time you get to the bar
and the time the show’s supposed to start
(an entirely different increment
than that between the time the show
is supposed to start and the time
the show begins). She
had completed her rounds,
walked straighter as she opened
the door again to almost full dark
and the clamor of bands unloading
trailers outside. My red

fingers unrolled the first
tamale, and after another
half-cup of Kentucky courage
bit into it, the chile-tomato kick
giving way to velvet through
the mantle to a core
of ground beef, fire, and sunset.

There is nothing, it turns out,
that pairs with a perfect tamale
as well as well-ridden Kentucky oak,
and for the next ten minutes,
instead of a sweaty, dim bar
in Chicago, I sat
in a cantina on a border
that doesn’t exist
with a pile of napkins
that appeared with my last
drink and five more
homemade tamales, spicy fingers,
and no chance to thank
this new patron saint
who lifted the scales from my eyes.

Robert Beveridge (he/him) makes noise ( and writes poetry in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Page and Spine, The Pointed Circle, and Failed Haiku, among others.


Popular posts from this blog

Amy Holman

My mother made herself the deer with a broken leg  We saw a deer through the pane into someone else’s yard. The leg moved like a tube sock pinned to the hip  and half filled with sticks. I did not like to see it suffer, either. She was upset —my mother —that no one helped  the doe. Was it a mother, too? As if we were the first to observe the scene. We weren’t. All had been told to let her be. My mother had suffered a destruction  of the self, a divorce, and no one cared. That wasn’t true.  We were grown, on our own. I agree it was hard. Yet  in those moments of a cold November day, we watched  a doe, disabled and enduring, walk across a yard and eat  a hedge. I wish she could have seen it like that. Amy Holman is the author of the collection, Wrens Fly Through This Opened Window (Somondoco Press, 2010) and four chapbooks, including the prizewinning Wait for Me, I’m Gone (Dream Horse Press, 2005). Recent poems have been in or accepted by Blueline,

Beneath the Chickenshit Mormon Sun by Bruce Embree

I've posted this before, on a depressing day probably just like this one. This poem makes me feel better. That's all I have to say on that. It turned out worse than I thought The champion defended his title then Eldridge Cleaver came on to talk about his reasons for becoming a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints Grandma and I damn near fell out of our chairs Went to town and got crazy drunk Came back home, called you long-distance after cruising and drooling Mainstreet again This is my last wish and love poem It is as follows Want to hold the wake at noon with plenty of acid and rum No friends and relatives Ghost music by Hendrix and the Byrds drowning all sound as you fuck me to dust beneath the chickenshit Mormon sun. Links:


No Mote black swans i almost didnt see but for their glowy beaks red as sumac- they didnt match the dark tones of lake, stuck out like your lust for me while i read to the children all cloistered- who could hear me even from the colonnade, all hickory and hops-vine, where i saw you watch me from inside a white willow tree. mergansers with their heads trailing swam among dead stakes of lotus. that belted kingfisher bode us a good day, and returned the children to their cages below bald cypress knees so naked i had to look away. you willowed no longer, i took leaf to mean wing, and feather to mean ivy. i took a shaded path back to the armory. it got hot and thick and i could breathe more heavily, rapt on high, no mote of hope. Bree is a poet and visual artist living in Pleasureville, KY. Her Green Panda Press has put out hand-made chapbooks, anthologies and sundry of the very small art and poetry press since 2001. In 2015 she began Least Bittern Books out of Henry County, K