[Another poem I wrote in the mid-1990s and forgot about until yesterday when I unearthed a notebook equally forgotten.]
The Rules of Discourse
Once or twice a week I push it
too far and somebody kicks the shit
out of me--but that can be healthy.
(At least that's what I'm always telling me.)
I hang out in the real bars,
where the bottles are broken at midnight
and shards and fragments slide across the tabletop
and what's left of the bottle is in the middle of a fist
and the jagged glass comes at you like a knife--but
he's only joking. You know it. Just fucking
with your head.
That's what I told myself the second
time it happened
and the bouncer threw us both against the brick wall
in the alley
where the white of passing headlights strobed across
"Frank! Buddy. I'm sorry but didja hear what this cock-
Ahm gonna kill this commie-ass motherfucker."
So the patrons drifted out of the bar and formed a
to watch him throw me into trashcans with metal crashing
and the accompaniment of far-off dogs,
to watch him bounce me off the side of a big blue dumpster
WASTE INCORPORATED -- WE DO TRASH!
until the shotgun went off in the middle of my head and I
that maybe this wasn't the optimal time to explain
that I was a left-leaning civil libertarian
and really rather conservative in matters of art.