Three Poems by Alex Branson

Preface to DWI

I was a twenty-three year old teenager
begging to be a martyr
not realizing
that I had to stand up for something


I only felt guilty
when I was caught
and I know
in my head
that it is a dangerous, irreproachable thing. It is carnal and asinine and simple minded.
but the bar was closing. And I felt like I had places to be.
it was my dad’s red jeep liberty.
like the world was a gigantic sandbox I could spring out from.
even when I saw the red and blue lights.
I smirked.
there was a.
babyfaced cop.
asking me all of the questions. I felt like I could pull one over on him.
I walked in a line. I said the alphabet backwards but forgot when he told me to stop. I counted backwards. It took hours or maybe minutes.
he told me what I knew.
there isn’t a lot of room in the back of a cop car. And the cuffs made red rings around my wrists that lasted for the next two days.
I blew a .18. he told me that that was twice the legal limit. The only thing I could do was shrug or cry.
so I shrugged.
He put me in a room with an invincible toilet and an invincible concrete stoop. The door was invincible. The room could last a hundred years. I was the only thing in it that could wither, but I puffed out my chest. I sat down and kept thinking about this Phillip Roth book that I was reading. Indignation. I kept muttering about Indignation. I wanted to call Phillip Roth and ask him for bail money.
I kept looking at the red rings left on my wrist.
I was taller than the room was wide. I tried to do some pushups. The only way I was able to do this was.
placing my hands on the seat of the invincible toilet.
and having my feet.
planted on the invincible seat/ledge/bed.
and I managed a few.
measly push-ups.
as I waited.
I needed to shit.
but the toilet is rigged so that only the officer can flush it.
from the outside.
and since I already didn’t feel like a human being.
I did not want my shit to be flushed by another man.
I deeply wanted.
to flush my own shit.
I thought about poker.
all my bets were blind.
I had hours to kill as I waited for my friend Matt to pay my bail.
He was the only person I knew to call.
that had five hundred dollars.
and would help me.
I kept telling the cop.
that I should just stay here. No bail.
if only to punish myself.
but it was Saturday. And the judge wouldn’t be in until Monday. And the cop was unimpressed with my gall or self-pity or whatever it was.
I fell asleep in the cell for about 15 minutes.
Curled up like a cat.
all 6’6’’ of me on that invincible concrete bed.
the entire time.
the mouth of the toilet staring at me.
all boxy and shiny.
when I got out.
Matt was acting upset with the cops. And not me.
And I couldn’t tell him I didn’t want that.
He bought me a McDonalds breakfast sandwich.
At 5 in the morning.
We watched an episode of Family Matters.
And decided that Urkel was an anti-hero.
I slept until noon.
When my mother and father arrived
On pale horses.

Epilogue to DWI

I sweat out the jail cell
by lifting mattresses and desks
with my father
and he asked me how
I can be such a smart-ass know it all
who thinks he is bulletproof
while still being
an enormous fucking pussy
I said I would change
and he shook his head
and said it was my only fucking strength

Profile: Alex Branson

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