the museum of americana

a literary review

Two Poems by Jeff Tigchelaar

 
Men Love Trucks.

Big trucks.
Tough trucks. 
Chevy trucks 
Not “Chevrolet.”
Men love 
Taking trucks 
Off the road—or onto
Unpaved, uneven,
Muddy roads 
That let trucks
Perform. Endure. Get good
’N’ dirty. 
Clean trucks
Are not
Tough trucks.
Men love 
Carrying things 
With trucks. 
Hauling stuff— 
Loads—in 
The back. The bed. 
The rear. Loads 
Of stones. 
Rocks. 
Wood. Lots 
Of wood. Wood
In all forms. Chips. Stumps. Trunks. Poles. Men 
Love to 
Haul 
Machines with their trucks— 
Things that can 
Cut other things, like 
Wood, into
Planks and beams and 
Boards with specific measurements
Which men can then
Load up 
Alongside the poles and
Haul  
Along with
Tools.
Old tools. New tools.
Heavy tools, heavily used.
Dusty tools. Electric tools. Metal tools.
Their tools. Not rental tools.
Chains, too. Sturdy 
Steel chains for 
Pulling out other trucks—  
Smaller, less
Rugged trucks—  
Stuck in the mud.
Men love Torque.
Men love Tow. Men love
Payload.
Sometimes men get 
Out of their trucks. 
Nope.
Down from their trucks.
They wipe
Their brows
In slow motion
With glistening, chiseled, 
Bulging, veiny 
Forearms, forearms
Rugged and hairless and strong like 
Trucks. Because
Men have worked
Hard all day. 
Men thirst 
For beers 
That crack open.
Beers from the mountains 
Or maybe M’waukee.
Sometimes men have been
Fishing.
Sometimes men get 
Together with other truck men
And sit on big blue 
Coolers and slowly 
Smile and shake their heads
And close their eyes
And tilt back their heads
And laugh as one tells 
A story, his hands about 
A foot apart, expanding.

 

 

*

 

 

What Came First—the Blues, or the Women Leaving?

The radio’s been whining again,
       and I’d slipped in 
       a well-timed 
“Oh she would, now wouldn’t she”
       in the beat between
“My baby done packed up and left me”  
and
“’bout a year ago today”  

       when my baby
walked in.
And after the chorus, with its
“I’m a man without a woman,”
my baby kept it going 
with “None of these guys have women.
       What’s their problem, anyway?”

Their problem?” I said. “As in, 
       the fellas?”
I hadn’t thought of it 
that way before. But I do think 
my baby was on
to something. Maybe 
these guys are getting left 
because they’ve got the blues, and not
the other way around. 
Maybe the ladies 
are sick and tired 
of their babies’ 
lowdown ways:
How they’re always bent
over their guitars, talking 
smooth, talking     
low, even whispering
their instruments’ names.
Strumming just right  
till they moan and hum. 
The way they 
tongue the grooves
of their harmonicas, coaxing
those high notes, those
trembling cry-outs in the night while
       their babies, 
their other babies—the ones 
whose bags are finally packed—  
stand back and look
one last time before the door, thinking
       Go on— 
keep making that music.
       I’ll give you something 
to sing about.

 

~~~

Jeff Tigchelaar‘s poems have been in Beloit Poetry Journal, New Ohio Review, Kestrel, Best New Poets, Heavy Feather Review, Thrush Poetry Journal, and The Offending Adam, as well as on Verse Daily. Awards include an Ohio Arts Council grant and the Kansas Authors Club 2016 Nelson Poetry Book Award for his first collection, Certain Streets at an Uncertain Hour. He lives in Huntington, WV.