Tuesday, June 26, 2018

A Strange Street. By Jim Bourey

From “PICTURES of the gone world” by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

A mime at the corner. Two beggars on the second block.
           A barker stands on a chair in front
              of a strip joint.
He brings out one of the girls.
          Evening gown at one in the afternoon.
          Her name is Fancy, he says.
          She is not beautiful.
          No cover charge, the barker shouts.

I go in. Two women dance on a round platform.
           Men and boys look up.
           They hold dollar bills, waiting for a signal.

I step back, lean against the wall. I have money for one
         beer. Three bucks.
                 Clothing falls away from
                  the dancers. Some men shout.
                  The girls move off the platform.
                    strut down the bar-top.
                     Collect cash.
I’m seventeen, carrying a fake ID. A fake me.
  Nearly naked dancers now. Spinning tassels
       glued to their nipples. Who decided
            that was sexy? That’s the big finish.
                            The Finale.

             Two new dancers climb the steps.
                The two that just finished
                  come out of the back
                    wearing halter tops and short-shorts.

They hustle drinks to the wall leaners. I’m broke.
     I gave five bucks to the mime up the street.
          My eyes slowly adjust to the sunlight.

Jim Bourey is an old poet who divides his year between the Adirondack Mountains and Dover, Delaware. His chapbook “Silence, Interrupted” was published in 2015 by the Broadkill River Press. His work has appeared in Mojave River Review, Paddock Review, Gargoyle and the Broadkill Review and other journals and anthologies. He was first runner up in the Faulkner-Wisdom Poetry Competition in 2012 and 2016. He has served as an adjudicator for the Poetry Out Loud competition in Delaware. In his North Country months, he is active with the St. Lawrence Area Poets and has taken part in Art/Poetry projects in Saranac Lake.

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