Blues Sonnet

by Tom Hunley

I used to drink generic beer. It gave me a poor man’s hangover.
I had a generic life and a never-ending poor man’s hangover.
I lived on coffee and aspirin and my factory shifts lasted forever.

I used to hound any honey who would give me her digits.
I’d hound the dingiest barroom pickup once I had her digits.
I’d be her sweet pet or a pest until I got in her britches.

Now I’ve found a stronger brew and the worst hangovers ever.
I’m downing rich man’s brew, getting the worst hangovers ever.
I never thought I’d taste such cold beer, so smooth, with such flavor.

And I’ve found a nice woman who made me forget all the others.
She’s a long-haired brunette, made me forget my old lovers.
First she gave me a son. Next comes his sister or brother.

When my wife smiles at me, I feel drunk in ways that aren’t generic.
When she scowls, I want to die, leave these bones for our kids to inherit.

                                                                                                   (unpublished, uncollected)

Tom C. Hunley is the husband of Ralaina Ruvalcaba and the father of Evan Joel Ruvalcaba Hunley. He has degrees from Highline Community College (AA), University of Washington (BA), Eastern Washington University (MFA) and Florida State University (Ph.D.), where he was the recipient of a 2002-2003 Kingsbury Fellowship. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Western Kentucky University. Before settling on a career in academia, he worked as a public relations writer, a sportswriter, a technical writer, a warehouseman, a Salvation Army bellringer, an enumerator for the U.S. Census Bureau, a typist, a data entry clerk, a file clerk, a fry cook, a cashier, a dishwasher, night manager of a convenience store, and a canopy construction worker. He is the editor/publisher of Steel Toe Books.