David LaBounty


Wearing sunglasses in January,

she was thin and buzzing

like coffee and bumblebees

with a face blurred by makeup

and the vagueness that comes

between thirty-five and fifty.

She was trying to write a check

for something like tires or maybe

brakes for a Buick but she couldn’t

find her license, so in harried anger

dumped the contents of her purse

on top of my counter and it was all there:

the lipstick, cell phone, eye liner, Ipod,

wallet & a small black tiny gun that spun

like a top as soon as it hit the counter.

That, she said as she scooped the gun

back into her purse, was a huge pain in

the ass to get: I had to sit in a crowded

CCW class at the county building

with all kinds, young and old, white and black,

male, female, gay and straight and they

were all so happy and scared just to be

able to carry a gun and, of course,

I got fingerprinted and there was a long

line for that too, something like fifty deep

at eight o’clock on a Tuesday morning

and there I was already late for work

but I just had to have this because you know

how it is these days...

and finally, the check

was written, and a few days later, bounced back.

David LaBounty © 2009


lately, there have been no words

as ideas have stopped flowing through

my head even though I keep typing away

like a junkie trying to tap into an overused vein.

My typing produces nothing save

half-baked poems like the one I thought

about this morning while stuck at the light,

an ancient Chrysler minivan in front of me

with it’s white paint peeling and a bumper sticker

that said, My Daughter is in the US Army.

I thought about the daughter.

I thought she might be short and squat

and I could see her in some desert

with a rifle in her hand, her hair

greasy and tucked into her hat,

her body shapeless and vague

in camouflage fatigues.

And then I imagined the daughter

coming home, getting married,

driving a minivan of her own

with the paint peeling away.

The light turned green, the van went straight

and I turned right, the poem quickly died

and I started to think what I could do

to make it move.

David LaBounty © 2009