They were the women’s beer league
champions four years running.
Most were built like Bay City Bombers
after Raquel had left the team, all, that is
except for the pitcher, short fielder, and
second baseman, all of whom looked
like pixie dusted vestal virgins but were
known to scream like harlots when their
men went down hard where it mattered.
The MVP was part Calamity Jane,
part Blaze Starr, an authentic bad momma
who liked to play softball while the sun
shined and hard ball all night after post game
parties. “I’m the MVP all right,” she liked
to say in between shots of Ole, “Most
Valuable Pussy.” Made the police blotter,
the six o’clock news, and the DWI Hall of Fame
all in one night, driving so far over the limit
she was medically dead. Created a drive-in
door and window, totaling a car and a Stewart’s
Convenience store, in one go. Was quoted
as saying, after the EMT’s scoped her for
obvious signs of injury, “I never felt a thing.”
In the fairy-tale book, there’s illustrations by Rackham.
If the words themselves won’t give you nightmares,
I guarantee the pictures will.
Red Riding Hood is so innocent, you’ll fear for your children.
And the wolf is fooling nobody.
Not even the worst grandmother has teeth that sharp,
snout that long, hair that thick.
But that’s the point of childhood isn’t it.
Start with the nightmares and grow from there.
Aren’t we all grounded in witches hauling themselves
up towers on a princess’s long gold hair.
Or dragons in caves. Or giants smelling blood.
By the time the warnings come around
to strange men in cars, kids from rough neighborhoods,
we’ve shuddered from clutching trees, invidious gnomes,
larcenous beggars, talking toads and, worst of all,
little boy and girl devourers.
The predators, the tough kids, just add to that
roaming band of evil-doers.
And later in life, the ranks of ogres thicken…
co-workers with a sharp knife for your back,
women who cheat at every turn,
so-called friends who rob you blind.
And that’s not even taking into account
bad drivers, clumsy fork-lift operators,
hunters with lousy aim,
and politicians who would send you off to war.
It’s a dangerous world.
It’s a dangerous imagination.
I’m reading my child a story.
I’m showing him the illustrations.
He won’t sleep well.
Nor should he.
We stepped into the side lane
behind ‘Old Mary’s Mission Of Hope’
down by the Dock Front
to see what all the racket was about?
Three ‘Buzzies’ had a Bag Lady
backed into a corner.
She was an angry, hysterical,
screeching thing… with a broken bottle
in each hand which she was expertly
zigzagging around in front of herself.
There was what looked to be
a male homeless body upon the ground
a few feet away which no one seemed
to be paying attention to at that moment.
The ‘Bluebottle’ to the left
had his truncheon out
and was snake charming her movements.
Trying to gauge when best to strike
and hit a bottle out of her hand.
Each time he tried and missed she screamed
“Get that horrible cunt away from me!”
Then the Black Maria arrived
like a rushing heart attack to the evening.
We were forced back from whence we came,
to listen from the street corner to the sound
of thumping, banging… then calm returning.
‘I might not be dead by the
end of next week’ she said
referring to a weird
looking dark blemish
under one of her armpits;
‘I’ve no lumps in my boobs,
I got the all clear’ she
said gently massaging
‘That’ll be good if you’re
not dead by the end of
next week’ I said
she smiled and asked
‘What the fuck would you
do without me?’
‘Shit’ I said ‘I don’t know,
but maybe I’ll be dead
by the end of next week
and then what would
you do without me?’
she smiled and then
moved onto laughing,
the way she does when
she is relaxed and
happy and then she said
‘What do you think I’d
do without you?’
‘Not worry’ I offered
and knowing the truth
of it, she nodded her
head with a smile,
‘Yeah and a whole
lot more’ she said
through that smile
He had been warned
that there were no more warnings
and now he found himself chained to a chair
no longer able to count to ten for lack of fingers
a brown shammy cloth stuffed down the throat for silence
flesh hanging from the face like a rare and chunky Warhol
and blood – lots of blood
fading in and out of consciousness
awakened by having gasoline poured over his slumbering body
and soon he would be lit up with false Christmas
and crushed inside a car and lost to some landfill
and never heard from
while the street lights changed colour
and the novelty pet shop
Beginning March 20th, 2016 Poetry Breakfast will once again serve a little poetic nourishment every morning. Start your day with our new expanded menu. Poems, of course, are our specialty. But we will also be serving a fuller menu that includes poetry related creative non-fiction such as letters to and from poets, essays on poetry, and anything else that might feed a poet and poetry lover’s soul.