by David E. Cowen

I found Rueben's brother on the black wall;
four panels to the left;
twenty names from the concrete:

Rueben's brother drove a red 1963 Impala
black topped convertible;
his hair never misplaced by the wind,
glowing cigarette in his mouth.
He was an American icon,
hard pack rolled in his sleeve,
a James Dean collar,
veins pounding on his tight biceps.
He smirked like Elvis,
and always used the word "cool."

Rueben's brother laughed at his teachers'
lectures on the inscriptions on his book covers
regarding his potential if he finished school,
and the promise of the American Dream.
"Ain't nobody gonna make me president,"
Rueben's brother would sneer in response to their shaking heads.

Rueben's brother got his invitation from the president,
put on the green clothes and went in country.

One afternoon during art,
while making Christmas wreaths
from newspapers and hangars,
the principal, his blonde arms bristling,
came in with a note and called Rueben out;
go home to momma, he said,
your brother's coming home early;
we grew silent as Rueben read the note
and ran out;
we could see him running down Adams Street
as we twisted the paper on the bent wire.

Rueben's mother sold the Impala for 500 dollars;
the new owner painted it green.

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About David E. Cowen

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David Cowen, a resident of Houston, Texas is the author of a volume of poetry entitled Sixth and Adams (2001), and has been published in online and hard copy journals and anthologies in the United States, Great Britain and Australia. One of his poems was featured in a 9/11 tribute in the Canadian Broadcasting Company’s Outfront radio program (2006) and one of his essays will appear in This I Believe: On Motherhood (2012) published by the This I Believe Foundation. Cineaction magazine, Canada's leading film journal, published a lengthy essay review of Centipede Press' The Exorcist: Studies in Horror Film, in its Winter 2012 edition. David has just finished his first full-length novel, The Goth Sabbatical, a gothic picaresque involving an inept, sexually wayward professor of dark literature who reluctantly goes on a sabbatical to the “old country” only to find that ancient myths are borne of ancient horrors