"Tomatoes" by B. Diehl


I sit in the passenger seat
of John’s 1994 Buick. The radio
is off and I’m complaining
about feeling stranded, uninspired.

“What should I
write about tonight?”
I ask through the sounds
of the putting motor,
the chomping November wind
seeping through

my partially-rolled-down window.

“Let’s go burn down Wal-Mart

so you can write about that later.”

“That sounds stressful,” I say.


The world feels small today ––
overpopulated. 2 outcasts

like us just don’t seem

to fit anywhere. But
perhaps that’s okay. We don’t
have a real destination anyway.

“I want watermelon,” says John,
seemingly as a non sequitur:
a random combination
of meaningless words
aimed to fill up time and space.

But then he pulls into a parking lot
for some fruit-and-vegetable stand.

He turns off the engine
and we both step out. Feelings
of boredom and misplacement
enter my body like criminals ––
ready to steal what is left
of the gold behind my ribs.

“Yo!’ yells John. “Tomatoes! Ha!
Remember those 2 kids
who used to haul tomatoes at us
when we walked home from school?”

“Vaguely,” I tell him.

“Here’s what you can write about,”
says John. “Let’s go throw tomatoes
at their houses and see what happens.
Wait, no –– eggs. Let’s throw eggs.”

“Eggs wouldn’t work as well
in a poem. Tomatoes would be good.”

“All of these watermelons
look like crap,” says John.
“But I’m gettin’ one anyway.”

“All right.”

“Should we actually get eggs?” asks John.


“I barely even remember
those guys. I don’t know where
they live,” I say tiredly.

“Wasn’t one of them obese?”

“I don’t remember.”

John gets his watermelon
and goes back to the car,
scoots into the driver’s seat.
I get in next to him and he
hands me the giant fruit.

I grip it tightly, holding it to my chest
as if it’s a living thing that wants
to be cradled and loved. Upon
the windshield, the sun spills buckets
of oranges, yellows, and pinks.

The day is ending and I still
have absolutely nothing to write about.

"I'm Going to Shoot Myself in the Face

in the Perfume Aisle at Wal-Mart" by B. Diehl

I’m going to shoot myself in the face
in the perfume aisle at Wal-Mart.

Jasmine fragrance will mask the stench

of the blood-drenched pulp
from within my skull,
splattering upon
the linoleum floor.

Employees and customers will vomit
and scream. They’ll go home
and hug their families tighter than usual.
I will make everyone more grateful.

Normally when I sleep,
all the people I’ve wronged
twirl in my thoughts
like phantom ballerinas.

There will be no more twirling
once my head is blown open.
Only pulp and linoleum.
Only the calming of blackness.

The news report will make
for some authentic reading.
My obituary will remind the world
that every tragic occurrence
is nothing more than a stupid poem.

I’m going to shoot myself in the face
in the perfume aisle at Wal-Mart.

Jasmine fragrance will mask the stench

of all the shit
I’ve been stirring

in this half-empty glass.