3 Poems by Josh Olsen

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Road Trip

Gas station cashier
told me my change
was $6.66. 

I said,
“I hope that’s a sign
of good things
to come,” 

& he replied
with a hearty,
“Hail Satan.”

 


 

On the 5th Anniversary of Taking My Daughter to Warped Tour 2013

“Sell out … with me, oh yeah” – Reel Big Fish, “Sell Out”

I was informed at the gate that I wouldn’t need a ticket to enter, because I was accompanying my 14-year-old daughter, & several of her underage friends, so I tried to sell my extra ticket at the door & was almost immediately arrested for scalping, but thankfully, I was not apprehended, which allowed me the opportunity to witness a Stefan Struve doppelganger get knocked out cold in a parking lot moshpit fistfight, while Reel Big Fish covered A-Ha’s “Take On Me.”

 


 

the big rig ladder

[found/erasure poem]

 

some people weren’t cut out
to be cooped up

maybe you’re one of them 

you want to climb
the big rig ladder
know what it is like
to swing up into a big rig cab 

show it who’s boss
make those 855 cubic inches
of raw diesel power
behave 

tame them 

drive trains
transmissions
braking systems 

move on to the real thing 

three tough weeks
on the driving range
& on the road 

backing
docking
coupling
reverse serpentines 

then taking the big rigs out
on the interstate 

you got what it takes
to take on the big rigs?

if you want to climb
the big rig ladder
start with the pros

Source: Ryder Technical Institute mail-in advertisement, 1975

 

 

Josh Olsen is a librarian in Flint, Michigan and the co-creator of Gimmick Press.

“Nashville Shirt” by Josh Olsen

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I bought a western shirt in Nashville
I now refer to as my “Nashville shirt,”
because it’s so resplendently ugly
it should only be worn in Nashville,
but I’ve taken to wearing it in Detroit,
because Detroit can appreciate
an ugly shirt, too.

Our last night in Nashville,
outside the hotel,
there was a highly intoxicated woman
in an NSYNC t-shirt.
“I ain’t got no shame,”
she was saying to the doorman.
“I like to party.”
The next morning,
we saw her at the hotel
continental breakfast,
clearly drunk from the night before,
and still in her NSYNC t-shirt,
but silent now,
and stuffing her mouth
with scrambled eggs.

On the drive home,
from Nashville to Detroit,
we paused at a truck stop
in Lebanon Junction, Kentucky,
where I saw a t-shirt that read
I’VE BEEN HAULIN’
SINCE YOU’VE BEEN CRAWLIN’,
and I desperately wanted to buy it,
but didn’t feel like I earned it,
having never been a long-haul trucker,
just an adjunct writing instructor
turned academic librarian
who drives 140 miles per day
to work and back.

My first day back to work,
at a library in Flint, Michigan,
I proudly wore my Nashville shirt,
but no one commented
or asked about it,
good or bad,
which made me think
it was probably even more ugly
than I originally thought.

Josh Olsen is a librarian in Flint, Michigan. He’s the author of two books, Six Months and Such a Good Boy, and the co-creator of Gimmick Press.

3 Poems by Josh Olsen

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Haiku After the Nasty Boys

I much prefer it
when fat professional wrestlers
don’t shave their armpits.

Tombstone

I’m not proud
of any of my scars

except for where
the love of my life
busted me open

with a frozen
pepperoni pizza.

Trust Us (A Truck Stop Restroom Found Poem)

Don’t use
the hot water.
It stinks and
so will you.
Trust us.

Josh Olsen is a librarian in Flint, Michigan. He’s the author of two books, “Six Months” and “Such a Good Boy”, and the co-creator of Gimmick Press.