A Poem by Richard Garcia

Richard Garcia is the author of Rancho Notorious and The Persistence of Objects, both from BOA Editions. His most recent publication is a chapbook of prose poems, Chickenhead, available only online from FootHills

       On Libations: My favorite brew is heather ale from Scotland. Maybe because when you raise the glass to sip you get a whiff of the heather it was filtered through. Or perhaps because it has been celebrated in poetry by Robert Burns and Robert Louis Stevenson.

Photo by Suzanne Parker

Also by Richard Garcia

“Three Poems”


Place a bottle of beer in my right hand.

My cousin, Bob, had a can of Bud in his

right hand when he was laid to rest.

He wore his black Greek fishing cap,

the brim at a tilt over his eyes

as if he were asleep on his sofa.

Make mine Leffe, from Belgium, dark, sweet.

Or better, Leann Fraoich, an ale filtered

through wild heather, from Scotland,

with a bright lavender bouquet.

Employ a former nun, one tall and thin,

to stride into the church and lean over me.

She’ll lift her black veil revealing a face

like Botticelli’s Venus. Then she’ll spit

on the marble floor, slap my face, turn, and run

tearfully down the aisle and out the door.

You’ll hear the swish-pop of a cracking whip, 

Vamonos! Pronto! Pronto! Adelante!

and a neighing horse as a carriage speeds away.

If there is snow, a troika will do.  No

sleigh bells. While everyone sits in mournful silence,

I want to have one of those muscle spasms

dead people have, and to suddenly sit up

in my coffin. This will be a good time

to turn off the light and show the home movie

that my brother Memo made of Bob and me.

He’s in a makeshift gorilla suit and I’m

Bomba the Jungle Boy. I stab him with

a cardboard knife.  It quivers in his armpit.

He dies in what may have been the first slow-

motion dying in cinema history.

I place my foot on his hairy chest and beat

my hairless chest and you will almost hear

my five-year old nineteen–forties version

of the Tarzan yell. If I’m really not dead,

this would be a good moment for me

to climb out of my coffin, close the lid,

and slip away on tiptoes out the side door,

squinting into the hard sunlight of new life,

my bottle of heather ale in my hand,

the back of my suit jacket, split all the way

up the middle seam by the undertaker,

flapping ragged in the breeze.