Pack Rat

Drunk in a roadhouse and happy,
I dance to the beat of the band.
It heats Cuervo Gold margaritas
that fuse, in my brain pan, the sand
left over from mining for Maundy
in my tent on the outskirt of dreams
where she, still in love, still accompanies
my travels. I order Jim Beams.

Published in The Armchair Aesthete, June 1996

Trolling a Trawler

A flat fish, lost and lonesome
asks, ‘Oh, which way lies the sea?’
of a trawler’s mate so handsome
she believes his ‘follow me.’

She does. They reach The Anchor.
He is buying. She has beer.
‘That’s a chaser,’ he says handing her
a shot. Makes her feel queer.

It’s a routine they keep repeating
from Cheers to the Rose and Crown.
‘I am starved. I fancy eating
something fried,’ he says. She frowns.

The plump plaice keeps smiling flatly
the way most flounders do.
She finds the mate beguiling
but she drinks and lets him stew.

His own smile turns to grinning
then to yearning then to drool
as he fantasises winning
while his mind fries up a school

of flat fish like the flirty one
who keeps saying ‘bottoms up’
so frequently he spends a ton
of his earnings for the cups

of the wine and beer and whiskey
they keep drinking matching shots.
He’s lethargic. She’s more frisky
telling him, ‘I like you lots.’

She reminds him of a floozy.
He reminds her of a shark.
He is seeing double, boozy,
when they totter to the park.

He has not forgot his hunger.
She has not forgot her quest.
Right before he could have hung her
on his grill she has finessed.

She finds him dear without his trawler
but his will remains a wish.
No runner-walker-crawler
ever can drink like a fish.

He last sees her neatly diving,
swimming strongly to the sea.
She waves fins, says, ‘Keep driving
us extinct, you’ll be killing me.’

Gone Song

I’ve been pushed away so often that I’ve left.
You don’t notice nothing missing. You don’t look.
And I left the music playing and the broken rocker swaying
and my heart there where you pressed it in the book.
The screen door slammed behind me in an off key
and the drums rolled thunder on the radio.
I looked back and saw you reading and I hoped I saw you cry
then I saw you pick the phone up, say, ‘he’s gone.’