Rich Boucher resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He has published four chapbooks of poetry and once hosted a poetry slam series in Newark, Delaware. Since moving to Albuquerque in 2008, Rich has performed all over the Duke City, served two terms as a member of the Albuquerque Poet Laureate Program’s Selection Committee, and is currently a member of the 2014 Albuquerque City Slam Team. His poems have appeared in The Nervous Breakdown, Apeiron Review, The Broadkill Review, Menacing Hedge, UFO Gigolo and The Legendary, among others, and he has work forthcoming in the Write Bloody Publishing anthology MultiVerse, due out in the fall of 2014.
There’s an all-night diner on the corner of Green and Washington forever, a few blocks down, always, from the Diamond Tavern and I’m almost there. I couldn’t sleep; I still can’t sleep; I might never sleep again. I walk, exhausted, from my apartment in the Lexington district all the way down here. I get a few blocks from the place and I stop at the park near Preston Gardens and I look up. The sky is still there, but it looks like it just got there a few minutes ago. Some of the stars in the sky are just waking up, and some of the stars in the sky are just getting ready to go to sleep. I know I’m not a star in the sky; I keep moving, and the closer I get to the diner the more the streetlights go out, the less light there is and then after a couple blocks’ worth of total darkness I see the warm glow from the diner pouring out onto the corner; I look in the windows and see a redheaded woman in a red dress having a cup of coffee at the red counter. She’s beautiful but she isn’t alone; she’s with a man and they’re deep inside their own conversation. I get it: this part of town is composed of my insomnia and wanderlust and I push myself through the door. It’s ninety-nine cents for a Coke or a coffee here; it’s ninety-nine cents for a dream on rye; it’s ninety-nine cents to go back in time. I make the redhead’s gentleman companion disappear with a wish and take a seat beside her. There’s no sound coming from the empty benches on the midnight street outside the windows and I fall, holding on to every year I’ve ever lived, into the gleaming crimson of her lips; I might never sleep again.
Getting Carded by Dwight D. Eisenhower
It was a Friday, and I’d been home from work for an hour. Things were getting close to seven and the restlessness, the restlessness was starting to fill up my skin like I could hear the pins and needles in me like bees, so before the Sun could lose its fight with the night stars and disappear, I got in the car and ran down to the Lowes Market on the corner of 11th and Lomas streets for some beer. I liked that that store hung a metal bell over the door so that when you walked in you always chimed. I headed right for the coolers and grabbed a six of Negro Modelo and walked back up the aisle; I placed myself in line behind the guy buying cigarettes and vodka. Something made me look a little closer at the cashier and when I did I couldn’t believe what I saw. Dwight D. Eisenhower, the thirty-fourth American president and the first one to ever live in full color was the person working the register. I said no way out loud to no one exactly. Look at him. Right there behind the counter. All famous and old and old-famous. I rubbed my eyes to make sure. And then I turned around, put my six-pack on the floor and rubbed the eyes of the guy behind me in line to make double-sure. I turned back around and it was my turn. Eisenhower had a black plastic nametag right across him that read Ike. He seemed pretty mellow to me, like he didn’t even care that he used to be President, or that he used to use America to bomb things. He didn’t seem like he wanted to bomb anything at all.