Tuesday, October 7, 2014

poem of the day 10.07.14

billy knuckles

he tells my wife
his name is billy knuckles

he says that’s what
the black dudes in prison called him

of course he’s been in prison
everyone in this joint has a prison story

they changed the name of this place
classed it up with more tvs and fireplaces
raised the beer prices
and sell coke out of the bathroom instead of weed

still you can put lipstick on a pig….

anyway billy knuckles probably went to jail
for not paying his taxes or writing bad checks
just like the rest of them

but it’s enough for him to tell the story

we’ve been drinking beer with him
for two hours now
after he started eavesdropping in on our conversation

we’ve pumped too many dollars in the juke
we’ve listened to too many good and bad songs

billy knuckles loves nirvana and pearl jam
i’m a grunge baby, he tells us

i think better him than me
because nothing good came out of the nineties
in my opinion

but billy knuckles bleeds that decade

before prison, he says
then sucks down some more guinness

he’s an ex-con with refined tastes

when he stumbles back over to the juke
to play another golden oldie from the bush/clinton era
my wife leans over and says
if nothing else at least you’ll get a poem out of this evening

but i tell her i’m bored
with writing about guys like billy knuckles

it used to be fun drinking with guys like that
but now he’s just an impediment

he cock blocks the evening’s joy
with his nostalgia and his opinions
the oral history of cell block four

i’d rather be in prison
than listen to this guy, i say

as billy knuckles screams from the jukebox
because a staind song came on

my anthem, he says, coming over with his hands raised
ready for our seventh high-five this hour

we should try wine bars, i tell my wife
i think i’m ready for the wine bar crowd now

he’s just lonely, she says

so is everyone else, i say

as two new beers appear before us
slapped down by the bartender
with the suds going all over the glossy wood

courtesy of billy knuckles
our new best friend

tonight’s benevolent warden


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