Smut Poets

Sally opens the door and jumps on my friend,

hugging, kissing, and dragging him

into the kitchen. I follow. She yells,

“Polly! Mikey’s here!” tells my pal

to take off his shirt. Paul strolls

sleepy-eyed out of the bedroom, gives us

the brotherhood handshake. Billy Joel,

Cat Stevens, and Rasputin come to mind.

My buddy introduces me as “another poet.”

 

Paul blinks, steps in for a better look,

steps back and asks, “Who do you read?

Bob Hass? Jorie Graham? Lowell?”

I never know what to say, where to start

when asked that shit: who’s your favorite?

Name names, and there will be a follow-up

exam on what you know. So I spit out,

Bukowski, I guess. His eyes dance intensely,

“Yeah? Bukowski? He’s a smut poet.”

I laugh, not sure if he said “smut” or “slut,”

and feel the adrenaline pump, my heart beat

faster. Could be, I agree like some

dumb-ass sidekick at a fantasy salon

where the hair dresser runs her fingers

through the client’s hair while he grins

stupidly half-naked in a kitchen chair.

 

“You want a beer?” the poet-boyfriend

asks me. Sure, I say and sit down

on the worn-out love seat, watch Sally

press her pelvis against Mike’s side

then lean back and start snipping his hair.

Paul hands me a Heineken, and I quip,

What? No Rainier? He throws a questioning

glance at me, then says, “That’s all I’ve got.”

I raise the bottle, salute, and take a pull,

notice a bead of sweat in the hollow of my pal’s

neck, his hair combed down over his eyes

like Cher. She nudges between his knees

to get in closer to cut his bangs, and I see

one of her breasts loose and jiggling

through her baggy blouse sleeve.

 

“So you’re not a fan of German beer?”

Paul asks. No, just German poets,

I laugh. It’s good, but a little spendy for me.

We watch Sally straddle my buddy’s knee

then move in over his thigh. “You sell

weed?” he asks. Sometimes. When I have it.

I take a sip of beer. “We’re looking

to score a lid,” he says when something hits

the floor, and Mike grabs Sally around the waist

wrestling her onto his lap almost

overturning the chair. She screams and

pushes free, playfully warns him,

pointing her scissors at his crotch,

“Be nice! Or . . .” She snips the blades.

We all laugh (and watch her glorious

tits dance and sway) as she bends over

to pick up the comb she’d dropped.

 

“Okay then,” Paul grabs his double-breasted

P-coat, “Gotta go, Babe, I’m late. So

how much do you want for a bag?”

Depends. Fifteen right now if there’s any

left. “You’re shitting me, right? I don’t

want fucking ragweed, Man!” I shrug,

Does the job for me. He looks at me and smiles,

“Okay, Bukowski, we’ll check it out.”

I take another swig of his Heine.

 

Paul grabs his books, hooks Sally

and kisses her neck, gives Mike

the brotherhood grip, and flips me a nod

before lunging out the door—his hair

and coattails flapping. Sally finishes

Mike’s trim and brushes him off.

She rubs his arm and kisses his cheek.

They hug goodbye and agree to try

to get together more often. I thank her

for the beer—don’t mention Paul or pot

or the beautiful romantic poetry

I witnessed beneath her blouse.

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