Christina Kallery


poetry readings have to be some of the saddest
damned things ever,
the gathering of the clansmen and clanladies,
week after week, month after month, year
after year,
getting old together,
reading on to tiny gatherings,
still hoping their genius will be

--Charles Bukowski

Drunk guy poems have to be some of the saddest
Damned poems ever. The drunk guy pounding
on his typewriter, night after night, drink
after drink, smoke after smoke, getting old
alone, still believing like an angst-eyed
teen in the genius of self-annihilation. Grizzled
codger in his dingy underpants, hurling fuck
yous from a shadeless windowpane or strung
out and spitting in the yellow eye of dawn,
smirking as the suits trail off to work.

Or the poems where the drunk guy screws
A prostitute, then opines on loveís brutality
while sheís splayed, half-hammered
on his sweaty mattress; naked chicks swap
places in these drunk guy poems
like a porno Changing of the Guard.

Or maybe itís a close-up of a homeless
winoís mottled face, a barmaidís sagging
breasts, a batty crone squawking toothless
curses at imaginary foes. Take a moonlight
skinnydip in lifeís rank undertow,
Bear witness to the crusty braggadocio,
the swagger of self loathing, an artsy
middle finger, an I told you so
deducing once for all that life is sad
and failure certain as a last call tab.
And itís braver, stronger to withhold
compassion from the world than give
and end up someoneís chump.

He may as well be some lost hero from a comic book Ė-
whiskey-breathed, box-jawed and jaded
a single jagged, scar etched on his cheek,
tapping out another tome at 3 am while neon
flickers live nude girls or xxx across his bedroom wall,
far off a lonely sax moans in the gloom: a scene
as far from real as superman or cowboy shows.

So flick on the dull fluorescent lights down at the Y
Cue up the cappuccino maker at the coffee shop
Turn down the football playoff at the open mic.
Give me the tax preparer whose bald patch goes pink
when he recites his sonnets of a long-gone loverís thighs,
the aging rockerís riff on Kerouac, the lady with a bad
perm on being 18, knocked up and slinging pancakes
at a Big Boy, the gangly kid whose voice breaks
like a brittle reed when he talks about his dad, the gray-
haired man in a faded beret whose refrain is always
revolution. Give me the quivering lumps of midlife
flesh, the young with incandescent, thrumming hearts
the old ones scorned by life and loathe to leave,
the weird and outcast, the perilously shy,
the crackpots, the rat raced, the subdivision dreamers.
Everyone tremulous for a little love and the sound
of a few hands clapping.

Christina Kallery's poems have appeared in Failbetter, Rattle, The Hiram Poetry Review, The MacGuffin, Poetry Motel and other publications. She holds a BA in English and Creative Writing from the University of Michigan and recently moved to New York City from Detroit.

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