That's Right

That’s right, the homosexual African with the
dirty fingernails, who ran his father’s bar
(ran it right into the ground!)
crept under those stinking bed sheets
and consumed me while I was unconscious.
It was when I came to and wrestled him off
that I discovered the teeth marks and slobber – to think of a Labrador
chuffed with the thrill of a tennis ball! And yes, I did tell the African
to do something useful and bring me a beer
and suck his own cock, next time the urge
struck him. I won’t deny I
bought the cocaine off the Thai taxi driver,
devoured the bag with gusto, flipped the lock
on the motel room door and parked my heels in the mat
with it in mind to leave them that way
until they knighted me for my sins.
When the whorehouse wouldn’t bring me
the donkey I ordered, I rented a woman
with the black of midnight in her eyes instead.
The God knows, none of the girls at the bar
would dance with me after they saw me hurl my shoes
over my shoulder, eat my socks
and slide off the bar stool. But I was there when
punk broke. I don’t know where everybody went
but I’m here, drinking this beer at breakfast time
(Some days are heavy aren’t they? What action do you take at breakfast time?)
while those businessmen leaf through the newspaper
pages, like war is new, like earthquakes are news
and like their teeth aren’t sharpened to points.
I take the valium because it’s there and I’m starved
of the head for sleep anyway. I’m a nihilist, fat on Bazarov’s ghost, and
I’ll do what it takes to make the nihilism go away. Give
me the last beer after the graveyards
close and before the bars re-open, the ceasefire
collapses, the dawn unveils the carnage sprawled
across the train tracks and I can stand to look at myself
in the mirror. And what’s in your mirror,
besides the cracks?


Joshua Jennings
Joshua Jennings is a writer whose poems and short stories have been published or accepted with Underground Voices, Dogmatika, Juked, Word Riot, The Battered Suitcase, Neon, Sex and Guts Magazine, The New England Review, Idiom 23 and Beyond the Rainbow..