Still Time Dismembered 2020
December- These ghosts still punch your ticket
Hot Horse’s Christmas visit.
– For Billy Gas
On the night they made it official that the talking Plywood was moving his plank into the White House Hot Horse celebrated by sleeping in his car at the train station.
Earlier in the evening
he sat in the bowling alley bar
out near the airport
with Frank Meyers and Billy Gas
in Lucky Ward’s dream.
They all traded their stories
while it snowed like hell outside.
It was black guy league night.
One dejected spade stood at the bar
with a small wooden sign hung
about his neck with a chain.
Engraved in the middle of it
was the word “shitty.”
They all accepted this.
Upon returning from taking a leak
down the other end of the alley,
Hot Horses reported that the white
bowlers were supplementing their
game with a deck of extremely
explicit pornographic playing cards.
Both Frank and Billy took turns
going to the can.
Later in the course of the conversation
all agreed that the deck beat the “Shitty”
sign hands down and the scene on the
joker card from the white guys dirty
deck was everybody’s favorite.
Gradually the rolling concussions of
strikes, spares and ten-pin splits subsided.
Frank Meyers asked, “so your really going to
see Lucky Ward this time?”
Hot Horse shrugged, “looks like it…..don’t really
know what to expect, it’s been twenty years.
He’s hold up back at his folk’s house, the marriage
went south back on the west coast, wife got her nose
stuck in the whiff bucket, his kids are all grown,
and he’s been on workmen comp.”
“I can dig it,” Billy Gas interjected, “I feel like
I could blow a gasket any day now.”
At the end of the evening they dropped Hot Horse
off at his car at the train station.
The snow had tapered off.
Hot Horse produced a three foot gilded
imitation porcelain angel from his trunk for Frank’s mom.
“She’ll love that, Billy observed.
“Yeah”, Hot Horse went, “just never know what you’ll
find out at BIG LOTS.”
Frank beamed, “Bet she puts it right on top of the television.”
They left Hot Horse to sleep in his car and
ponder the new administration while waiting for
his train at dawn.
In the middle of the night
Hot Horse was startled out a thin nod
by the roar a long thunderous freight train
high balling through the station.
The resounding rhythmic concussion
detonated ton after ton of frozen steel down
the rails like a murderous immense bowling ball
gutter channeled with razor flange.
It pounded away with a ear puncturing madness
cyclone snow sideways in a
shattering nightmare of runaway motion.
Hot Horse groggily attempted to make sense
of what was passing him by.
Then the monster just disappeared into a shroud
of white vapors and powdery snow waves
as one trailing red eye winked while it faded
and faded into the gray swirling sponge of false dawn blackness.
Then Hot Horse set alone in silence.
Eventually he fell back asleep
and dreamed of frozen useless switches
on the main line
while he heard Lucky Ward’s voice,
“even after you think you’ve learned the ropes,
you have to read so far between those lines on
that script that you begin to get the idea
the whole scene is better off left unperformed
and then one day you just get shut down.
Coldly cut out of it all
your just another derailment without so much as
your name on it.
Attitude House 01/01
Her Merry Christmas
Maybe sister, perhaps Aunt
is sitting out there
wishing you would walk in the door
of the kitchen,
and give her just one good reason
to believe/forget the world’s cold shoulders
and hard edges and all that shit she’s had to eat over
all the years might have meant something
more than the husband that barely speaks to her
the old friends that seldom call
not to mention the children that
ignore/take her for granted.
She’s listening to the Christmas music
sitting in the colored lights with a glass of wine
the tears are barely an after-thought
as she wonders why you never showed up
in her life and perhaps if you did once
why she ever,
ever let you go.
Christmas Visit Snapshot
Nearly noon along the Hudson
Brilliant light about
descending rust wine
iron crane wench hook
set in blue and white midday relief.
McNamara’s daughter isn’t coming
Johnny in Singapore
You sit in here alone
listening to the bartender
tell that the pickpockets are
using box cutters this year
up on 86th and Lexington.
Back in the Big Red Mountain booth
way downtown beaten worn linoleum
I’ll call you from the payphone
in the back near the pool table
while listening to the killer jukebox
resurrect Spike Jones singing,
“you always hurt the one you love.”
He’s Dreaming of a White Supremacist Christmas
Just about a couple of weeks before Christmas
early evening quiet barroom
couple of regulars, off-duty bartenders
gentle snow at the window, soft music low in the background.
Easy early holiday conversation
locals drifting in & out between Christmas shopping
to get warm, grab a cold one, maybe a bite to eat.
In the middle of the sparse crowd sits this guy.
Beat up peaked ball cap, barn coat and muddy rubber boots
Bartenders all dolled up in her Christmas dress.
She even had a slight hint of glitter on her cheeks.
She’s flushed with excitement.
Big night later, annual staff party.
Just a little girl in Christmas morning still
peaking out of her eyes.
It’s drift and rift quiet banter time
between a few friends.
Every once in awhile our boy in the middle lets’ loose
with an unsolicited comment.
Like: “Fuckin sucks, I hate all this Christmas crap.”
(While staring straight ahead)
He’s getting expressly ignored.
Not getting a rise out of anybody.
Figures he’ll give another shot.
“Fuckin assholes, fuck the lights, fuck this time of year.
Fuck that jew bastard hippie carpenter, what bullshit,
if he walked in here tonight, I’d personally nail him to
that fuckin tree again with his own fuckin hammer.”
Regular A shrugs.
He remarks, “Yeah it ain’t Christmas till somebody dies.”
Followed on the heels by regular B who counters with,
“Yeah my grandfather was killed by a drunk driver a
couple of days before New Years back in 37.”
Girl behind the bar pales visibly.
Regular C walks in the bar and announces,
“well that’s it…she wants a divorce and the doctor
tells me today that my stool sample came back positive.
Christ…pour me a shot…hell make that double and
while you’re at get these guys something…Merry
Meanwhile laughing boy sitting in the middle of the
bar is staring at the regulars with his mouth open.
Scoops up his change and smokes and heads for the
door muttering over his shoulder…
“Man what a bunch of fuckin sick losers, I’m going
somewhere where they know how to party, I mean
after all it is goddamn Christmas.”
Regulars A, B, C. and bartender sit in silence.
Finally B goes, “Anybody know that guy?”
C pushing his shot glass toward the bartender
says, “I think he’s the guy that plays Santa at WALMART.”
…musta had a tough day at work.”
“Yeah” Regular A offers philosophically…
“the holidays can be rough on us all.”