River City Blues by Harry J. Baxter

I’m drowning in all the irony

Thrift store clerks with beards of

iron wool pubis

and tattoos of the monsters under my bed


It goes coffee shop coffee shop camera store

bicycle vendor, corner store, coffee shop

parking deck, gas station, thrift shop


I have a pocket full of compliments

and a face full of stolen sunglasses and dental floss

and if I walk long enough

down broad, main, or grace

then maybe I can find the secret

the secret of how not drown

in all of the girls with their yoga pants and plaids

Can I learn to swim

when I’m already this far out?


I saw a homeless man eating a dead magpie

it was fucking weird

I was walking down one too many toward the intersection

of marijuana and spirits

already spinning myself a web of a night of discomfort

but the neon lights shone upon me

making me think it was the cops

so I ran and ran and ran until my shoes flapped worn

only to fall and skin my knee on the punchline

It’s hard to live in Atlantis

without a passport

or gills.



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