Nips by Wayne F. Burke

my Uncle got me into the laborer’s union
local number whatever
and I went to work for the Pipe-Fitter’s
building a hydroelectric dam
in the boondocks
somewhere in the forests
and hills
my cousin Tommy
and me
stood around holding onto our shovels
like our dicks
and shooting the shit
until we were sick of each other;
back at the shop
I rifled through stacks of
Playboy magazines
like a sex fiend
and in the shack
where we ate
when Joe spoke
everyone shut-up
because Joe was a funny bastard
whose stories made us roar with laughter
(some days we sat in silence
and heard each other chew)
lunch was the best time of the day
beside quitting-time
when my Uncle would stop the car at the store
and a six-pack would be bought
and Mike the Welder
who rode shotgun
would buy 3 nips
and drink them all
plus a beer
or two
before we dropped him

Wayne F. Burke’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications (including “In Between Hangovers”). His three published poetry collections, all from Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES. His chapbook PADDY WAGON is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives in Vermont.

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