November 2003

Richard Louis Garcia


Richard Louis Garcia

Richard Garcia is the author of The Flying Garcias (University of Pittsburgh Press, 1993) and Rancho Notorious (BOA Editions, 2001). His poems have recently appeared in The Colorado Review, Crab Orchard Review, Perihelion and The Blue Moon Review. His website is

Colorado    Click to hear in real audio

I seem to be in Colorado and Los Angeles at the same time
bucking for a future perch as the patron saint of bilocation.
Sister Bertha's in the alley setting the garbage cans on fire,
Poke Rawlins' ambling toward No Problem Bridge.

Listen, I tell the punch-drunk fighter who hits me up for change,
You go around the block this way and I'll go that way panhandling,
then we'll meet in the middle and you can have the loot.
Yeah, good idea, and he goes off twitching, jabbing at his shadow.

Now sister's doing the electric glide, not easy on concrete but she's
got the feet of Pavlova, and fingertips like the finest white asparagus.
And this muscular guy swings a pick into the rocky mountains,
looks at me—Man, which way is Reno?—I point west,

he heads for his car. Tonight we'll steal the pianos from the dump
and Tyke will sit in the back of the truck pounding out Rachmaninoff
'cause he's off to Nam in the morning, and Jolan's sex will taste I swear
like the Salton Sea, she should've been a surfer not a skier,

and we'll be tangled up on the floor when a horse sticks his head
in the window. She plays piano too like the last time she played
something soft on a mountaintop that was goodbye. Poke,
they call him that 'cause if you offer him a ride he says, No thanks,

I'm in a hurry. He's about eighty or so but can still be found
in the middle of a bar fight at the Red Onion.  Haven't heard from Sister,
word is she married a Hell's Angel and got big in real estate.
I'll come back for fifteen minutes one day and sit on a rock I tried to blow up

in another poem. Poke, that's his arm alright, waving from a pile of rabbits
he had no heart to kill. Here comes the punch-drunk fighter, he made it
around the block—he's not stupid and I wasn't lying—he's got two dollars,
I've got a dollar sixteen, that's enough for him he says, Thanks, see you later.



With Your Eyes Closed    Click to hear in real audio

I was asleep
while a stranger
stripped me bare,
removing my saddle shoes
my white knee-stockings
my green and black
kilt skirt in the regulation
Black Watch pattern,
and made love to me.
And as he made love to me
I was dreaming  
that I poured the last
drops of my grandmother's
rarest peach brandy
down the toilet.
My grandmother
was on the front porch
rocking back and forth
in her rocker, an activity
I believe is sexual.
Then I became
my grandmother.
The chair was a huge
black stallion because
I was small again.
I clenched my thighs,
we galloped along a ridge.
The moon was full,
but cast no light because
it had become the tire
of my boyfriend's car
and I was letting
the air out while he
was in the library
somewhere in the stacks
making love to my best friend.
I have always found bookshelves
to be erotic, so I became
my best friend
but I won't tell you
her name, or mine either.
If I have learned anything
it is this: you should never
tell anyone your name
in a dream, even if you're
not really sleeping.



Richard Louis Garcia: Poetry
Copyright © 2003 The Cortland Review Issue 24The Cortland Review