augury doggerel

Sunday, April 13, 2003


Girls, divers, on TV
in skin and slick.
Each of us (we're
men here) pretends
appreciation for
the way she slips
from point to point.
fuck the judges. She's
from toes up haunch
to oxter sifted spray.

A large man and a small woman come in to the pub. They hand a couple of bottles of Johnny Walker over to the barman, tape up a few "Special Offer" signs, and sit at the end of the bar. Two women come in, apparently sisters, and apparently acquaintances of the whisky people. They disappear into the back of the pub.

Good lord. The women reappear ten minutes later in little Johnny Walker costumes. A red beret. Shorts and sleeveless vest in one piece, tan and red, with the sides cut out to reveal the waist. Knee-high boots, tan and red.

They were good-looking women when they arrived in their street clothes. Tall, good posture, regular features. But you have to be eighteen and curvy to get away with clown suits like these. You have to look as if you might be as dumb as the suit. These women are closer to 30, probably mothers moonlighting, and they're too shrewd-looking for their getups. They're the red berets, the Johnny Walker flying squad.

Mind you, now there's only me reading poems here at the end of the bar and a middle-aged couple having coffee and cakes in the corner. To whom, one might ask, if one were the sort to say whom and one, could they possibly sell whisky?

I look up at the barman. I look at the bar owner. I look at the two whisky girls and the two whisky dealers. They're all looking back down at my end of the bar.

The berets come over, legs first. The red beret with artificially red frizzed hair stands behind my left shoulder and presses her right breast into my back as she explains the "Special Offer" of the night. For just a little more than I might pay for a beer, I can have a Johnny Walker. And, says the other beret, if I have three, I get a free T-shirt.

Fine, fine, I've had two beers, I was getting ready to leave, but I'll have a whisky if it will make everyone happy.

Poured gold, molten guilt.

A few guys walk by outside and slow down to watch the women in uniform, but no one dares comes in. A granny stops and looks, adjusts her groceries, and moves on.

Oh, I can't stick this song. I'm silently calling Grace Slick a name, but then I remember it's the DJ's fault, so I call him the same name. They built this city on communist government reconstruction funds and shipbuilding. Rock and roll probably wasn't even allowed here until about 1970. But DJs need to dream. I need to ignore the radio.

The berets come back. The beret with the dark hair presses her working breast into my scapula and explains that I need just two more for a shirt.

Right. Another whisky.

The coffee couple are replaced in the corner by three young women. They have drinks and speak in low voices to one another and laugh. They don't drink whisky. They have their own shorts and berets at home.

It's a good place,
women alone come
in and curl around
the thing, press lips
to cheeks and tell
their loosened tales.

And the berets surround me. The redhead � I'm starting to feel a bit concave back there, depressed by a breast � reminds me that one last whisky gets me the shirt.

Fine. Summer's coming. I could use a shirt. One whisky more. But that's it. And that's me, there in the mirror.

Christ, my brows
are bushed, old
crazy-man style:
white springs at
me. I'll run out of
life any minute.

Throw all my money on the bar, pick up what the barman leaves. Say goodnight to the bar owner, the barman, the large whisky dealer, the small whisky dealer, the dark-haired beret, and the red-haired beret.

I wonder if there's a moon? I dream of Jeannie with the. No. By the light of the silvery moon, da da da dum, da da da da da doom doom doom.

Someone reminds me that I forgot to say: yes, I got the shirt. Now if I can remember where I put it.


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