Two Poems by Tyler Gobble

What Is Wanted
Shoot some hoops with birds
In my meager hair, then go home.
What truth does this sport help me avoid?
By this point, I am my own sun burn.
If you cut me open, my early rings would
Be chicken nuggets and boat motor exhaust
And god bless me if my last lines end
Up as bored scribbles cluck-puttering on.
I go up for a layup and unfurls one
Of L’s long ago thick black hairs of nowhere
Like an elbow, a tinny tink to collapse
My senses, but hey okay I still made the shot.
Plane behind the clouds, the correctional
Facility fellers in their brightest colors
Stabbing Styrofoam cups and ghoul-like
Wrappers in the shadow of the school.
Today the teachers asked the kiddos
What is wanted out of their time here.
This is what the blank looked like

Do You Have Any Advice For A Fresh Chicken Like Me?
Yelling unfortunately will be required.
It is your raising of question
That provides us our much needed connection
An afternoon to canoe through a river of alternatives and trout.
You are a person, not a tangle of lures.
You can explain yourself whenever you’d like.
Often, you will put too much stock in the broth.
Realize you can dump it out, down the drain, into the ditch,
All over that brand new Camary on loan
From the universe you never wanted.
The Camary or the universe? The photograph of all
Your loved ones and it doesn’t look like you
One bit between them. Don’t fret—
If you sing someone’s name it means a lot
More in the depth. I have been here long enough
To know what I’m talking about. Music is what happens
When the farmer misplaces his hatchet and calls it
A day. A name is what happens
When the daughter comes along and invites the snowplow worker inside
For warmth and gravy. When a soul gets sucked
By the camera, it matches the rising wail I hear
When I close my eyes against the glass door.
I can finally understand the pecking of you birds.
It takes more energy to conjure empathy
Than it does to pick up the kernels with my unshaped mouth.
A giant tractor is never far away.
A giant heart attack is basically the same as a small one, as long
As they both kill you. If you think about it, it is true.
If it is true, we call that emotion. My cousin tells one story—
A man in the city leaps from a building
And is stuck in the net for a very long while.
This view is what he unintentionally gave himself.
How many times has he hung this shirt out to dry, these underwear
Now concealed and wilting? Remember the importance of the mesh
That holds in, the skin holding your lungs
Against a mysterious gray sack of goop we will only find once
You pass out in the grocery store parking lot in April.
Despite all this knowledge, I’m still unclear on some versions
But every nail I can hammer no doubt
In this rational brain of mine. Often, you will be disappointed
When you flail and the world fails
To notice, to bring you a fresh cup of closure.
What I am saying is every now and again
You will be hijacked by feeling. Every now and again
Get stoned and run your car through a tourniquet of mud.
Some of your friends will wear eye patches over their kisses
But do not worry. This only concerns you
For so long, nearly the time it takes to empty
The bath water and start again. You should start again.
At least one person will be foolish enough to love you
A second time. You want nothing to come
Out of your butt, but it does. Brainstorming
And yesterday’s chicken teriyaki. Once you locate the source of the dripping
You can continue on to your marriage dance and eventually
Death. And after all of this, it is still best
To follow your gut, that manual I left there long ago.

Tyler Gobble is the host of Everything Is Bigger, a reading series in Austin, TX. He is currently a poetry fellow at the Michener Center for Writers. He has plopped out a chunk of chapbooks, most recently Collected Feelings with Layne Ransom (Forklift INK), and his first full-length collection, MORE WRECK MORE WRECK, is available from Coconut Books. He likes disc golf, sleeveless shirts, porches, and bacon. More at