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Bailing Water by John Dempsey


I want the woman
who will kill me in under a month
And I like the songs
that make me forget my age
I hunt down these nights
that leave me broken and confused, half dressed
on Jersey sidewalk, dick wet, half cigarette
off dempsey lip . . .
I want the friends
who make deadly plans
involving pill shaped freedom
and 16 ounces
of The Escape Dream
And I like the bars
that are filled with dead eyed drunks and the speed rack whiskey
runs two dollars a glass
I hunt down these nights
they leave me broken and confused, black eyed
on Manhattan street, right canine
chipped to shit, with that same half cigarette
off dempsey lip . . .
Us humans
Smartest creatures around,
isn't that right?

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I was in the shower
adjusting knobs
and lathering balls
(the balls are always first)
and turning the water handle
I heard a mad squealing of pipes,
the shower head shook, real violent,
and then
began pouring snakes
(small snakes;
baby rattlers and diamond
backs, tiny copper heads, pythons
and corn snakes) and I left for work
without washing up, walked five blocks for the train,
and got on the platform, where
this Jamaican waited;
pretending to read (a copy of 'Death in the Afternoon' and I knew he was only pretending because his eyes never moved (I pretended to read 'Shogun' and you could tell I was pretending because my eyes never moved)) and when the downtown A
pulled into the station
the Jamaican tried flanking me along the right,
I saw his hands,
reaching out for the big push,
and I spun on fast heels, right arm
up for the block and he must've seen me reacting because at the last second
he backed away
and I got on the train,

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Bailing Water - John Dempsey

Bailing Water
by John Dempsey

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 Bailing Water - John Dempsey