Ondine puffed Moroccan cigarillos
on the terrace every night
after home-cooking and candlelight.
We possessed stockbroker appetites,
loved the action of casinos and the wooing
of barkers and shills. I forgot the literature
of the bluenose travel agency, and we craved
each other like gang members.
We dated in a déjà vu of Havana 1959.
Yes, the town was our turf, we were blithe
villains to the baroque gossipers of the square
until I transformed into a bootlicking funnyman.
I realize it was a stupid brainstorm, a scraggly
fantasy wearing black tights. I didn’t panic:
I swallowed my pride, married her,
gathered my stolen property,
and waved as I fell into the last
seat of a bus with no destination.
AN APPLE FOR TULIPS
Sunday, three Arab princes
presented me with a sculpted
apple from the Arctic. Redder
than a blushing hero I wanted
to draw with a crayon, its tongue
wagged in my cabin. Surely
this must be a folktale, I declared.
We laughed and I offered them
tea and lobster from a forest in Paradise,
but they declined. Enchanted, I gave
them three freckled green tulips I had stolen
from a streetcar. They chuckled when
I wiped my elbows with a handkerchief.
The blind one toasted me with brandy,
called me a pillar of the community.
I cried with joy, shaking their gloved hands.
KILLER AMONG US
The waitress Doria worked midnight
shift, and I lounged in the booth,
ordered an omelette with a drumstick,
scratching my beard, the junkyard
of my hidden face. Oh, and a juice.
Apple. Later in the dark mornings
the diner bustled with millworkers,
zookeepers, mariachi shakers,
a stinky, skinny serial killer who called
himself Capricorn. We laughed
listening to his confessions of over three
hundred kills—his stories sprawled
with each telling. Doria and I resented
him: he glowed as a new victim entered
his world, thinking we all feared him
and his various methods: placing
a child asleep next to a gorilla
in the African Den, strangling a priest
with a rosary, pouring concrete over
a chained biker. Capricorn, eyes bulged
with glee, told us he kept the pedal clutcher’s
tattered leather, wore it for us one morning.
As he jabbered, he swiped the crumbs
of my eggs and chicken, reassuring us,
Don’t worry, lovely sparrows, I won’t kill
any of you, I have a mother to contend with.
Before he left every sunrise, he’d stagger
to the toilet and return to present his
unanswered riddle of previous mornings:
Would you believe me if I were you?
David Spicer has had poems in Yellow Mama, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.