October 28, 2009

Linda’s Place Again

by John Rocco

The game of life is hard to play.
You’re gonna lose it anyway.”
--Theme from M*A*S*H

the backyard is a concrete wasteland, weeds
pushing through the rock. You’d think they’d
put a table or chairs or at least an ashtray out there
but there’s nothing except the nothing and the
Chinese place next door banging pots and pans
into shrimp lo mien and pork eggrolls. There’s
nothing out there except for the too blue sky
and the cartoon clouds. I’m out there to
watch her smoke. She smokes.

Back inside it’s Jo-Ann’s birthday and she’s
been drinking Jack all across Tremont Avenue
and she grabs my ass and sticks food in my mouth
saying: "Eat it! It’s Puerto Rican food!" And Jimmy
is worried at the end of the bar because he tells
me there are a thousand cars after him and
"How was I supposed to know?"
Throwing down all the money in his pocket making me
guess where he is from, the of course neighborhood,
and later he says "Fuck it, I’m going to a massage
joint! I need a girl! I just didn’t know!"
Walter is there who never drinks and
Tommy the roadie who doesn’t drive
and the girl who works in the mortuary
tells me she washed her hands before
leaving work. There’s the crazy woman
who asks me my sign and when I tell
her Aquarius she freaks out and makes
the sign of the cross like I’m a vampire.
There’s Jennifer who likes the Who and
is working tonight’s shift and who also
does an excellent air guitar belly dance to
AC/DC’s "Big Balls." There’s Danny
who leaves for a booty call and Lily
who never heard "Pictures of Lily."
There’s the dumb guy in the Jets jersey
who does a cool trick with coins and
a bill on the top of the beer bottle
who asks her behind the bar if
they went out in high school
and she says yes blushing and then
no. She’s the one who I watched
smoking outside, the Bronx sky her halo.
It’s her first shift and I was her first
customer, her first beer sale.
The sad part is I won’t be her last sale
or close to it, never was, never will be
when she leaves
later with Fruity Mike and I
go home alone
to a world full of people
I just don’t want to know.

*John Rocco at MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/292819823


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