Three Poems by Adam Moursy by Adam Moursy

Katz the cleaner


foul fellow―

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

were gone.


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

on Tuesdays.


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

real good.

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

even knowing.


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

seen it.


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.