Ekphrastic Challenge, October 2018: Editor’s Choice
Image: “Hanging Collage” by Courtney Carroll. “Locked Brakes on Blacktop” was written by Guinotte Wise for Rattle’s Ekphrastic Challenge, October 2018, and selected as the Editor’s Choice.
LOCKED BRAKES ON BLACKTOP
When he drives the grain truck in, what
the hell, parachutists in the trees! Cannot
believe this shit he says, farming is not
a spectator sport, used to be from seed to
silo not much else but baloney sandwich
damn hydraulics give out sometimes but
not much else to pull attention, now black
smoke blowing airhorns too brakes are
locked and tires striping Florida blacktop
jumpers out there silks aflutter standing
right there in the deathwish lane I will
do them in by hand if I jack-knife this old
Peterbilt and live to get my hands on them.
Sur-fucking-real he says, spits Red Man
into a coffee can misses the sonofabitch.
—from Ekphrastic Challenge
October 2018, Editor’s Choice
Comment from the editor, Timothy Green: “There’s something delightful in the contrast between the no-nonsense trucker and the surreal scene he’s witnessing, and something mesmerizing about the half-monologue’s voice. As often happens, it was the poem that I enjoyed more every time I returned to it. And the ending, where he spits out his tobacco but misses, is perfect.”