Two Poems by Glenn Hollar

Bot­tle Rock­et Ars Poetica

And if we banged
into the absurd,
we shall cov­er our­selves with the gold of own­ing nothing.
—Cesár Vallejo

I won­der if the great poets ever had this problem
I think, as a bot­tle rock­et cuts a hole in the night

next to my right ear. Sure, Wil­fred Owen
was pinned down more than once, and Pound

found his gods in the land­scape out­side Pisa,
but nei­ther chose that. I step out from behind the corner

I’m using for cov­er, and set light to the fuse
of anoth­er scream, this one leav­ing a show­er of sparks

as it skips off the screen door he’s hid­ing behind.

We’re the only peo­ple for miles.

Yeats was a dream­er and Dylan Thomas was a drunk,
but nei­ther was this stu­pid. Soon, very soon, we will tire

of bang­ing into the absurd. We’ll go back inside
to grab anoth­er beer from the Farm­house fridge

and we will drown our­selves in gold.
I’ll leave it for tomor­row to find the poem—

the com­bus­tion of tiny fireworks,
the new hole burned through my favorite shirt.

The Death­mo­bile

Col­or of a Metal­li­ca album,
I can almost see the lack
of shirt sleeves and good sense

due at signing
on an El Camino like this.
How proud he must have been!

How sen­su­al that first touch
of chamois cloth to sheen,
trac­ing the seam

around the driver’s side door
as if in blessing.
He must have felt

like he had two cocks
when he’d rev it to redline,
dump the clutch, and peel

a strip of hide
off the grav­el drive,
the pull of inertia

or some oth­er fun­da­men­tal Law
he didn’t comprehend
yank­ing him with a lurch

toward the main road,
and the high­way that leads
to all highways.


The car was all she left him in the divorce.

She had always said he spent more time with it,
and now he wouldn’t have her to stand between
him and his one true love. She was cheat­ing on him
but didn’t want to admit it. So he lost himself
in its intri­ca­cies, the del­i­cate interdependencies
of a hard­er heart than his. That sum­mer he dismantled
the entire engine block, cleaned and pol­ished every piece
with a relent­less eye—then rebuilt the whole thing, just like new.

This is the part of the poem where I’m sup­posed to say
his cathar­sis was com­plete, that he man­aged to repair
the bro­ken-down wreck of his life—because hasn’t the car
been a sym­bol all along for his psyche?
I don’t know. All I know is that, come fall,
that El Camino may have looked a lit­tle beat up
on the out­side, but under the hood it ran like a Swiss watch.
Like some­thing that hadn’t been pulled apart inside. Like new.
And that he sold it to Bran­don for fifty bucks.


And so it is written,
The Deathmobile,
in algae-col­ored spray paint
against the flat black primer
of the rest of the body,
tat­tooed across the dent­ed tailgate—
only slight­ly more garish
in its audacity
than the skull and cross­bones on the hood.


Bran­don is a collector
of stray cars, in the same way
some peo­ple choose pets
they see them­selves in.

After Amber dumped him
to mar­ry her sec­ond cousin, he wanted
to cel­e­brate mediocrity.
He want­ed to own a stereotype

he could beat the shit out of.
So he gave that car the worst half
of a paint job, got drunk
every day, and took it out

on the rough­est roads in the county.
Fun­ny thing, how love can echo
itself. Like hand-me-down clothes
that nev­er quite fit right.

Fun­ny how they tell alcoholics
that the def­i­n­i­tion of insanity
is repeat­ing the same action,
expect­ing dif­fer­ent results—

but fail to men­tion that flip­ping a car
into a riv­er in Jan­u­ary isn’t too sane either.
Fun­ny how blurred the trees are,
how riotous the engine pounds

with the ham­mer down,
as he speeds home to the Farmhouse,
The Black Album
blow­ing the speak­ers out,

win­dows wide open, almost doing ninety.
Glenn Hol­lar is a biographer's night­mare. Not for the rea­son you're think­ing. This much is cer­tain, though: he received his MFA from the Uni­ver­si­ty of Mary­land in 2011, he cur­rent­ly lives in Tam­pa, FL, which he's not entire­ly con­vinced isn't hell in dis­guise (what hap­pened to the moun­tains?), and he has had one of his poems pub­lished in Inch. Which is exact­ly the amount of news­pa­per col­umn space his obit­u­ary will occupy.

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One Response to Two Poems by Glenn Hollar

  1. Rachael says:

    I want to mar­ry your brain.

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