Thursday, January 21, 2010

one over the left shoulder

(for Dylan LaCross)

we used to drink the days and nights
in chiming cut-glass bars and side-street dives;
me listening, him drawling Los Angeles,
Seattle, Corpus Christi, Meeker, Colorado, Mexico;
the oil fields and the dope deals,
that murder in the Salt Lake City streets,
a life lived out in dog years
and the woman trail ("those rotten cunts")
that led him by the balls to Finland,
where his grandmother had come from
when the white's chased them out:

"dancin' was forbidden during the Cold War"
Charlie told me a hundred times.

then one day the blood turned brown in his brain
and they found him unable to move on his bedsit floor;
he couldn't speak and the stories ended there.

now, up the main artery of frozen pine forest
and birch tree masses come his ashes
arriving here on some ghost train.

here, we are supposed to pinch and scatter them.

where? outside his favourite bar?
the hill he clambered drunk home every night:

"one step backwards, three steps sideways,
one step forward and puke - YEAH!"

or then maybe outside the unemploymet office,
or inside the unemployment office?

or then maybe one over my left shoulder, for luck?

some place, where the ground will dissolve him;
like salt in boiling water, Charlie's gone,
gone, gone, gone,....................gone.

by Jack Ohms

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