By Nick Bollard

Back Alley Cocaine

it’s October, getting dark, you’re standing on
your two feet in that glistening alley and a
shivering school teacher wincing her face
pulls out an eight ball and samples you
a toot off of the corner of her Sears gift card;
you want that ball but have just enough for
a gram and ask Is there an installment plan?
she cackles once, her breath visible; you see a
plaid scarf wrapped around the neck under her head and
burgundy lipstick, or her teeth are stained with wine,
and your lips are dry but The Drip numbed and
immobilized your tongue so you ask Do you have any
chap stick in that leather purse of yours? she says
Are we going to do this or not? you want the whole ball and
aren’t willing to compromise and she knows it and says
Come over Sunday and fuck me and I’ll front it for you;
you ask about how she learned to negotiate and she says
she is No capitalist, says she’s Just paying off student
loan debts; you smile big with your eyes and
tell her you’re glad to help and she pulls her collar up;
you look down at her skirt hanging under her knee caps
and you ask if she wants to party and she rolls her eyes,
says something about planning a lesson but you don’t listen
closely because you’re thinking about the white in the little hidden
jeans pocket on your right hip and if anything ever mattered it is Now

 

At the Parking Garage on Burlington

in stained overalls, two fat workers for

a private towing company, their truck

parked illegally, slurp with unkempt smiles bitter

coffee out of travel mugs.

pushing the lift that hangs a

red sport motorcycle, they remark on the

negligence of a brick

layer.

one spits his snoose, or his

cud, bits of his breakfast,

maybe.

laughing, they look over

their backs for anyone swinging

a club, or a

bat, brandishing a

blade,

even.