Evergreen Review founder Barney Rosset was working on the Evergreen Review ceaselessly. He died in March 2012, and this selection was among the work he selected for future publication.

My mother was a barmaid,

I grew up through the beer salt,

broken Pabst bottles, and the splinters

from pool cues that cracked

Curley’s skull and sent two men to Menard.

A cave full of shadows and men stoned,

some still stalagmites while the others,

thick-bearded wolves, prey on packs of floozies,

or bait the preacher’s boy, “He’s a pansy.”

Between the pickled eggs sent and deer meat,

country and blues that cracked from busted juke box,

the smash-clink of whiskey backed with beer,

I knew somehow a man must be more than this-

a heart-sick beast that stands upright to piss.

 

BIO

 

Jason Braun edits Sou’wester, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville’s national literary magazine. He also hosts “Literature for the Halibut” which is a weekly hour-long literary radio program on 88.1 KDHX in St. Louis. He has edited an online anthology of poets influenced by Beat, Slam, and Black Arts Movements called The Fusion at BigBridge.org.  He has published poetry in Drumvoices Revue, and was chosen twice by River Styx for their Hungry Young Poets Series. He has released music as “Jason and the Beast”.