He Rode Off, Real Loud, On A Cloud

Poems by Cody Walker

POETRY: Eight by Cody Walker


You do this, you do that, and then you die.

Ask a stone.
Ask the hollow part of the anklebone.

When My Daughter Asked

how Martin Luther King died, I had to say, “He was shot.”

Or not.

I could have said, “He rode off, real loud, on a cloud.”

Keep Your Feet on the Ground and Keep Reaching for the Stars

say the police, who shoot anyway, from the protection of their police cars.

OK, a Dude’s Dead, But You Can Go

It looked like a gang sign —

and I work hard for what’s mine.

I hate to involve her,
but it was my grandma’s revolver.

I shot, like, one round.
(I was standing my ground.)

Counting Song

One Ayatollah,
two samples of Ebola,
three “Yo man I’m down on my luck”s,
Four fucks,
Five hats that don’t fit,
Six cigarettes that won’t stay lit,
Seven personae,
Eight diamonds deemed phony,
Nine bottles of wine,
Ten bottles of wine.

Trades I Wouldn’t Make

Ragtime lessons for a bag of Smith & Wessons.
A crisis at the Presidio for that ISIS video.
My looks-cute-in-a-Bengals-cap daughter for tap water.
My other daughter (also cute) for, whoa, Beirut.

Questions, Questions

Is “Behind Blue Eyes” the meanest pop song ever written?

Or is it “Beth”?

And would anyone mind if I stomped this kitten to death?

Last Joke
Knock knock.

Who’s there?

Nobody, just the wind, never mind.

- ? — ¿ — ? — ¿ — ? — ¿ — ? — ¿ — ? — ¿ — ? -


Cody Walker is the author of Shuffle and Breakdown (Waywiser, 2008) and the co-editor of Alive at the Center: Contemporary Poems from the Pacific Northwest (Ooligan, 2013). His recent work appears in Gigantic and The Best American Poetry 2015; it’s also featured on the Cartoon Bureau Blog of The New Yorker. His second poetry collection, The Self-Styled No-Child, will be published by Waywiser in 2016.

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