Editor’s Note: For six years running, contributing author Zach Adler has spent the month of April putting out a poem a day. By turns earnest and wry, these poems are based on prompts (and often forms) chosen at random using a deck of cards. The prompts range from “The Grandfather Paradox” to “Emotional Adultery” to “White Person Dreadlocks”. This year we decided to turn all his entertainment-related National Poetry Month entries into a series of our own. 

Follow the rest of Zach’s daily poems and plumb the archives on his blog

Tour-van-rock-and-roll-bandSeven of Clubs – The Backseat

1986 Chrysler Town and Country (75,000 miles; 325,000 miles)

You were always in the back seat
Next to the buzzy speaker
The broken window crank
Next to Kenny who
No matter how many times you would say
“Quit it, Spastic”
Drummed his fingers on everything
Cupholders, wood paneling
Your own ten year old knees
“Stop it”
The drivers side headrest
“Please Kenny Stop It”
And your father would remove one hand from the wheel
And he would slap him
Kenny wailing and gasping
“Goddammit little shit I’m gonna break your fingers”
The cars everywhere honking
A slap so hard that you would start to cry
“Stop Crying”
And so you would stop crying
Kenny’s tiny feet kicking your body
As you burrowed into your
Transformers blanket
You watched the odometer change

Driving North to Ithaca
On the way to another gig
Bury Your Dead
Playing on the car stereo
Crystal clear
But soft enough
Not to wake your brother
Your baby brother now grown
Sparse beard and maiden’s hair
Sleeping beside you
As you glance at the traffic in the mirrors
And just for an instant
See yourself
But you are gone
And so is the back seat
You remember the day you tore it out
To make room for amps
And your brother’s Kicks and Snares
And you don’t feel anything
For anything
Except for Ken
And your guitar
Sitting in the back
Wrapped protected in your
Transformers blanket
Faded by the sun
You watch the odometer change