Jason Phoebe Rusch: The Legend of Ricky Bobby as a Metaphor for Trans Time
Nights in Talladega: The Legend of Ricky Bobby as a Metaphor for Trans Time
I am cuckold, eighties anthem, gold stars
a mother’s curio cabinet, slumber, waste
at middle-age bleached coral sapped of self:
puberty denied me, eating flaked skin,
licking dust mites from my childhood’s dim shelf.
Speed calls to me, road rushing blood, rubber
cock almost a live thing inside my jeans:
I’m electric baby, hear the thunder
my pheromone a secretion of shame.
If fathers weren’t false axioms, scalped tickets,
taking mothers in bathrooms since ’78:
a one-time deal, a painted yellow stripe.
What can I tell you, kiddo that’s been me
wrecked sides rolling fiery over my life
Wrecked sides rolling fiery over my life,
I’d let myself be crashed to remind me
my rising sign: failure. Side-tire blubber
grease stain on the sky, sent-back fast-food toy
these my tendencies in work, love and play
doomed hull-clinger, plankton, slow flagellum.
Each night I dream a stadium wet for me,
me legible anything, wanted fresh
and riding, riding bright blood down a track
I’d like to live to see myself perform
some adrenaline-fueled, miracle act.
To bare my chest, to yowl, scratch genitals
to crest some Arctic storm, grin all the pain.
I could live quite long watching strange TV.
I could live quite long watching strange TV,
in some paneled-off section of my head
like a room with heavy curtains, lotto
numbers before they are called, cheap beer
spilled on my underpants. A long nose hair,
a snore, a crushed Cheeto ground into rug:
that which persists the same each day after
next, and for what, and for what and for what
to paw after a person to soundtrack?
To look more suave and better on paper?
To stand in public grabbing my own crotch,
to dance fondling my own butt cheeks to praise?
For photo on hot-dog restaurant wall
For Day-glo revelation of mundane?
For Day-glo revelation of mundane,
for onion rings and gas station aisles
for the music the speakers sometimes play,
I have boringly soldiered through hours
obeying the imperative to be
rev whatever pistons we can obtain
my phallus hologram powered by fuel
oily and viscous, subcutaneous shot.
My blankness projecting into future,
a tunnel riddled with limbs, aphorism
makes for better press. I could speak to folk,
inspire them. An option: be professionally failed.
Make profit from the melting and the loss.
An embarrassment of flesh, blushing cost.
An embarrassment of flesh, blushing cost
my wife left me for a former version
I learned early men could not be wives
nor women husbands, nor could my body
elope with itself, far outside its birth.
So I hunkered down like creeping sludge trail,
stored decades of inertia in my bones
I gnawed my skin to sleep, cut axles loose.
I Shake-and-Bake and break my own steady
it looks noble but really I lost nerve
my arm like my willpower emerging
like an infant’s from a place before life
rasping it’s your time now, Ricky Bobby,
but never like you thought before, again.
Jason Phoebe Rusch is a queer trans writer from the Chicago suburbs. His writing has appeared in The Rumpus, Lambda Literary's Poetry Spotlight and Bust magazine, among others. His first book, Dualities, will be available from Hobart's SF/LD books this March. He can be found online at www.jasonphoeberusch.com.