Trouble at the Drive-In
by Jim Daniels

The sky is gray and it will be
raining soon and we’re waiting in line
for the drive-in, the one on Eight Mile,
the border between Detroit and Warren and the anger
is stewing just like always, every day
guns pointed at our own dumb heads, every day
somebody else dumb enough to pull the trigger
because we’re mad, mad and sick and dumb
and we’re gonna get ourselves a little piece of something
even if it means taking it away from someone else
who don’t have much, or else we’re sick and tired
of everybody taking, so we’re gonna
protect ourselves, by god, though god
don’t seem to help much here–he’s getting ripped
off too–and we all want to have our say
one way or another, so there’s a lot of guns
in a lot of hands, yes, I’m thinking all this here
as it starts to pour, fucking rain like crazy,
and I say fuck to let you know I mean
business, just like I carry a gun,
so it’s fucking raining if you don’t like it
then fucking get lost because I’m still going
to the movies–a Clint triple-header–
Fistful, A Few Dollars More, and Good/Bad/Ugly,
and all these good, bad, ugly people are leaning
on their horns and some asshole cuts his car into the line
up front and this big fat guy gets out of his car and runs
up to that car and he’s screaming fuck you so
he means business, and he’s pounding on the windows
yanking on the door, and he’s getting soaked, but
he don’t give a fuck, he is me and he is you,
and the guy in the car is me and you
and we’re all kicking each other’s asses
while the bosses are safe and dry
in Gross Pointe or West Bloomfield or wherever
the fuck they live, laughing at The New Yorker cartoons
and thinking Woody fucking Allen is a genius, let me
tell you, Clint ain’t no genius, but I understand
his movies, and I understand what’s going on
up ahead, and I’m hearing sirens, and me and you,
we’re in this together, buddy, just a couple dummies
like those two up there, and nobody’s letting us in
and nobody’s getting out, and it’s only a matter of time
till somebody pulls a gun.

Reprinted with
permission from
Jim Daniels' most recent books include a book of stories No Pets (Bottom Dog Press, 1999), a book of poems Blue Jesus (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000), and an anthology he co-edited, American Poetry: The Next Generation (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2000).

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