Tuesday, March 24, 2009

poem of the day 03.24.09


i watch jazzy jeff grab you
by the jukebox and try to dance
you look up at me
your face somewhere between terror
and trying to placate
a drunk
i watch you and have a sip
of beer
then turn to john, the old guy
with one tooth
who called you the bar’s dorothy parker
and i ask him how in the hell
can he tolerate this place?

jazzy jeff has been buying rounds
for an hour
and he won’t stop slapping me five
because i turned him on to shooter jennings
and jamey johnson songs
and he counters with george jones
some waylon, two we already know a lot about
but you and i say thank you
accept another free draft
toasting to six straight days of work
and we all sing along to good ol’ no show jones.

i watch a small table of hipsters
in the back of the bar
and wonder what in the fuck they think they’re
doing in bay ridge on a saturday night
while you are talking to some fat drunk
who used to live in pittsburgh
who complains about an ex-wife he hasn’t seen
in seventeen years
and a daughter he hasn’t seen in just as many
i wonder what would be the easiest way
to kill the table of hipsters
but they seem to sense they aren’t wanted
finish their fancy beers
and head out of the bar
just as jazzy jeff puts on another merle haggard song
and one-tooth john
goes back outside to smoke.

two hot blondes walk in the bar
we laugh and think they are lost
but they haven’t even sat down yet before
jazzy jeff is looming over them
an arm of each shoulder, his beer tilting out
of the bottle,
asking what the girls are drinking.
jazzy jeff has a pile of money in front
of his seat
i don’t know how much
but the bartender grabs a good portion
of it
and soon the two blondes
are drinking bottles of bud
but they don’t seem to like the country music
on the jukebox.

the blondes leave after their beers
and the fat drunk starts bitching about all
the blacks in brooklyn and back when
he was in pittsburgh.
i watch jazzy jeff stare contemplatively
at the empty seats
where the blondes were
then he turns to me and smiles
raises a hand to slap me five even though
we are four seats away from each other
and when jeff realizes this
he puts his hand down and shouts
right before two more beers end up
in front of us.
john gets one too, but he’s asleep
at the bar
one half-smoked newport resting by
his whiskey.

i don’t remember the walk home
except you said that i was wobbling.
i don’t know who made the bed
or which of us locked the door.
it doesn’t seem to matter
and we pass out like the dead
i wake nearly twelve hours later
to vomit
i vomit so much i start dry heaving
on the bathroom floor.
i get a glass of water just so i have something
to spit up.
my mouth tastes like bile
and my heart feels like exploding

you are in bed
as i rest on the cold, stained bathroom floor
beer, i think
nothing else gets me this way.
you’re my hell
the whore of my only day off
and i think about giving you up
before i take two aspirin
which i throw up almost immediately
i know we’ll be doing this again
probably sooner rather than later
and i guess i’ll just have to live with it
because i can’t seem to live without you
no matter how hard i try.


Ally Malinenko said...

Great poem, jay. Quite a night.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Whoa ...

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