Jeff Mays

Mode of Transportation

You could take the car, but then you wouldn’t notice the hawks circling
overhead, nor the current of black ants terminating inside the semi-translucent
grasshopper carcass. You wouldn’t see the sun-blanched, tailless lizards
running for safety ahead of your footfall, the lobules of dog shit trying to hide
in the grass, nor the bee belly-up, scooted by the breeze.


All I could see
as I turned to answer his question,
“Do you stay in Rialto?”
was the rage in his face
the peeled back eyes
the horse’s nostrils
the small spheres of sweat
the templemuscle clench
and that he didn’t care if I
answered yes or if I answered no.

Not daring to look over my shoulder
I frantically ran to her
the woman walking towards her car
with a single key stretching
from the pinch of her fist.
I came closer to her with blood
on my basketball, with crimson drops
that have not stopped, with a numbness
in my ear that I’m afraid to touch.
There is a question on my face,
but I can see she is forcing
thoughts of gunshots away
from her, sweeping these crumbs
off of her blue and white dress,
and in mid-step, I realized
I shouldn’t even bother to slow down.

Waiting at Walmart

for an oil change
where people pay for tires
and new car batteries
with paper money, twenties dealt out
like cards;
the grubby waiting rectanglar prism
hidden between the greycloud-smeared
garage and painted cinderblock
storage room reverberated with loud
tv reports of a gunman
on the loose in the snowy wilds
of the Big Bear Mountain; it pulled
my concentration
away from Thomas Jefferson,
The Art of Power, so I walked
through the air filters
and paint guns,
the index cards and manila
folders, past people without a
purpose shuffling through the discounted DVDs;
surrounded by the slow pushing of carts
and half empty scuffed metal shelves;
I felt a wave from far away
come slow-rolling towards me
lifting my feet from the ground
a momentary crest-rider
floating on the swell
the linoleum far below my feet
and me far away from the plastic handle
in my hands with its colorless blue
in the stale and scentless air

Jeff Mays is a native Inlander who has lived in the Empire for 47 years now.  In addition to poetry and photography, he is also an avid baseball fan and has recently published a book about the miraculous ’62 Angels called The Spectacular Case of the 1962 Los Angeles Angels.