Katz the cleaner
there were always snot drips
in his nose,
he talked with a slight lisp
and his teeth were bright green.
the try-it-on game,
he called it,
and he wore the leathers and suedes out
to the pool bars
and the racetrack
where he sometimes won
(but mostly lost)
and would then drink until
the night dried-up and all the crows
he had his shop over there
by the pharmacy on DeKalb.
the smell of potatoes would
describe it best
and if you went in there,
you got conned―
four-day waits and the wife was
playing along, too.
she wore the furs instead,
and they had a poker table in back
which the old man ran
Katz was a clever one at first look―
a shroud of a man if you didn’t
get too close.
he’d been in the house once
for aggravated robbery――
a 12-month sentence for beating the kid
but that was then, he said,
he’d served his time.
that didn’t stop the gang from
coming around though,
and from the sidelines like a rat he
kept an eye close.
one day he was standing outside
when they drove by and
shot the place up.
there wasn’t any explanation, he told
it just happened.
old man Katz hasn’t been seen since―
the bags were packed without the woman
he had a long thin moustache
and a donned a felt hat that was not his.
oh, and the hat color was gray,
which bore little
they've colored this place oak
a real glamorous, shit-stained brown
and thrown in some extra lighting
to make matters worse.
the jukebox no longer works
just sits idle
collecting useless tokens
from useless new arrivals―
hip patrons of the modern age:
polished young men
who don't speak to one another
and even younger women
who were never taught to cross their legs.
so this is what it's come to, I think:
bare bulbs and little more.
the beer chaser
still goes down, though
and as in so many other cases of life
that's what matters most.
one must adapt to the changes
that face us on a daily basis
and even if the last strain of humanity vanishes
in a single flash of light
from within the photo booth walls
I'll be glad to have
free of charge
how or why, I don't know,
but drinks were spilled and dirty glances
were exchanged, and finally
the bigger guy walked over and said,
"you got a problem, bro?"
"I ain't your bro," said the smaller guy.
"so we do have a problem then, right bro?"
"look, don't call me bro, bro."
it may have been one of the greatest
buildups in history,
and the fight didn't disappoint
Adam Moursy is a Brooklyn-based writer, whose works have appeared in several lit mags and poetry journals in both the U.S. and U.K., and in Canada. His poetry books include Slinking Under the Electric Bulb and Dizzied by Chance: Poems of a Fringe Existence, as well as the chapbook Wine-Stained Parts and Dirty Talk(Sick City Press). He is also author of the novel Car Service (Sick City Press), which is due for release in 2015. For more updates and info, follow Adam on Twitter @moursyadam.