Tuesday, August 23, 2022

Beating A Hustler By Rp Verlaine

He had taken my money 

three times after I'd 

bought us cheap drinks 

not even a whores navel  

could sweeten. 

A known rogue 

in a pool hall 

that already had 

more thugs 

than cameras find 

at mafia weddings. 


I was four hundred down  

doubled or nothing for  

the fourth time when I 

whirled around and let the 

pool stick become a splintered  

puzzle across his face 

4,5,6 times 

fractured his right wrist too 

in case he was armed. 


Everything froze save the 

jukebox playing 

a song I didn’t know 

as I slowly walked out backwards 

into the bouncer who 

I gave my remaining bankroll to. 

Tanned and huge in a tight tailored suit 

“don’t come back” he said  

“even if he deserved it 

we don’t need that here.” 


I ducked into a cab 

forgetting my address 

And remembering I’d left my wallet  

at the pool table. 

Maybe they could send it Express Mail.

Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in NYC, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018) and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020). Rp’s work has been featured in Punk NoirYgdrasil, and Runcible Spoon.

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