juvenile mouth of mettle
by Joseph Rios
Josefo found the funeral foto in one piece. The funeral one founded in otros, looking at otros photos with a smile over Paul, dead. The ealderman's windsor knot, this mourning sewn in a thick triangle and synched to the base of a developing lump. Juvenile mouth of mettle and wires, a father's epistle to the Filippians, creeping saliva beat down with fists, and these clasping fingers, tearing down, tearing, thrusting into another of the same, four fingers, clasped, tearing, adding frayed white edges to glossy fragments of the southern baptist's foyer. Mumbling four letter words unheard through lips clasped, crying in a filthy garage: What the fuck were you so happy about?
THEY DONT REMEMBER YOU; THEY REMEMBER THE REP
ACT I, SCENE II
Bubby. Rude. Caddy. Kings. Brotha Lynch.
Eastside. Blunts. Bag of shake. Velvet. Lots of it.
BUBBY: So yo daddy bought you that new Street Fighter huh?
JOSEFO: Yeah. It's cool.
BUBBY: When we get back, I'ma beat your ass like a lil bitch.
RUDE: Bubby, come on man.
BUBBY: I'm just fuckin with the kid. (Laughs)
He's got nothing on my yoga fire
Ay there goes that buster right now!
BUBBY: Yeah man. I swear to fuckin God.
RUDE: Go back.
BUBBY: That dude's twice your size.
RUDE: I got something for his big ass. Joe, grab me that bat. It's by your feet.
JOSEFO: But that's my bat.
BUBBY: We're gonna give it back. Don't trip.
RUDE: Stop here, Bubby. Let's go.
BUBBY: I knew this was gonna be a good day.
JOSEFO: Rudy, what about me?
BUBBY: Ah fuck, man, let's go.
RUDE: [To BUBBY] Hold up.
[To JOSEFO] You're gonna stay here, Jojo. Keep your head down. This shit is not for you.
Boy Scout Training
Nine men, mostly tradesmen, in exactly six trucks drove up to Fresno Dome. They brought beer and meat. They departed caravan-style up the 41 Freeway. They found snow and ice near Bass Lake. By 11 a.m., the men were drunk and wandering the forest, looking for wood. The trucks traveled in pairs. Abel, the craziest mother fucker in the crew, took the two youngest with him. “You two homos come with me,” he said. “Bring that ice chest.”
Once parked, Abel pulled out his rifles and ammunition: Thirty aught six and a .22 for each of the youngsters. “Shoot the tip of that tree over there,” Abel said. “Like this.” The first shot rang out and echoed off the trees. In no time, the three were taking aim and firing on a sapling 50 yards away, slowly clipping the trunk from top to bottom. The farther down the trunk they got, the more bullets it took to make it bend over. At the middle, they expended casing after casing. A small pile of brass accumulated at their feet, mixed with larger beer cans. But the sapling refused to bend over. Frustrated, Abel yelled for a cease fire. “Cease fire! Cease fire, motha fuckers!” he yelled. “I said cease fire, goddammit!” The youngsters put their weapons down. The shoeless one popped open a fresh beer and took a swig.
Abel walked into the line of fire and shot the young ones a smirk saying, “Watch this.” Twenty yards from the sapling, Abel reached into his armpit and pulled out a three fifty seven magnum and pointed the barrel forward and squeezed the trigger, still walking toward the trunk. With his shoulders square over firmly placed steps, he smoothly and deliberately pulled the trigger. Hammer back, pull, bang! Hammer back, pull, pow! “Fuck you, mother fucker!” Hammer back, pull, boom! “Bang, bang, bitch! You like that?! You like that?!” After six shots, the tree finally bent over. Abel emptied the casings onto the forest floor, reloaded, and holstered the hand cannon under his arm. “Now that's how it's done, pussies,” he said while walking back. “One of you owes me a beer.”
contributor 2014 first edition
Joseph Rios was born and raised in the Central San Joaquin Valley. His chapbook Shadowboxing is forthcoming from Achiote Press. His poems have been published or are forthcoming in: Huizache, New Border, Flies Cockroaches & Poets, Poets Responding to SB1070, BorderSenses, and elsewhere. Recently, he was a finalist for a Willow Books Literature Award. He studied English at the University of California, Berkeley and Fresno City College.