The Dead Man We Disgrace by David Spicer

Before I embraced the Mets and excited
gluttons by eating five movie tubs
of buttered popcorn as we watched
The Hurt Locker, my two brass-knuckled
buddies and I, with machete-cut hair,
betrayed our dead brother
by dozing at his funeral after we drank
a case of sherry the previous night.
I played saxophone at the wake
and his widow snapped a photo
of me blowing that silver horn,
that upside-down question mark.
Our comrade rested in his closed cherry
casket, so he didn’t feel disappointed,
and then I recalled the night
outside Baghdad, the constellations
a broken diamond necklace:
four drunkards, we chugged wine,
took turns modeling the mink coat
we stole from the Jack of Spades
and left him on the scorched highway
like roadkill in his Mickey Mouse
pajamas and bathroom cologne.
As the dead man we disgrace
shot the Jack in the temple with his Beretta,
the other two pistol-whipping him,
and I plunged a bayonet into his hairy chest,
the prisoner said, I’m dying of syphilis anyway,
pigs, so take my puppy—his name’s Monk—
because you’ll need him before your
goodbyes to the cowards deserting you.

David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The New Verse News, The Laughing Dog, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, among others, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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