Tim Peeler, “Drive-In 50”

Tim Peeler

He had taken so much speed
And had Tourette’s so bad
That his eyes fluttered
When exposed to the faintest
Amount of sunlight, which
Is why he wore heavy shades
Ninety per cent of the time,
Even as the gloaming painted
The sky behind the screen
With grays and pinks and oranges,
Yellow teeth clenched hard
On a Pall Mall Red,
The nasty green John Deere hat
Pushing his greasy white hair
Behind wide-set ears.
He could show the movies
Half the night, deliver two routes
For the Charlotte Observer,
Then glug down black coffee
For a couple hours in the diner,
Where he laughed awkwardly
To cover his vocal tics,
Scouring the sports pages
For tidbits of info before
He stopped by the Gulf station
To call his bets into the runner
At the downtown arcade. Some
People said he slept in his car
In the afternoon at the back
Of the drive-in; some people
Said he slept while the films played;
Some folks said he never slept,
Never at all.

Author’s Comment: These poems are part of a manuscript loosely based on Catawba County drive-in theaters. The work is a companion piece to my motel book though in this case the narratives are more fiction than auto-biography.

Bio: Tim Peeler is an educator from Hickory, NC. His most recent poetry books are Waiting for Charlie Brown, a collaboration with performance poet Ted Pope from Rank Stranger Press and Checking Out from Hub City Press, a finalist for the 2011 SIBA poetry award.

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