by Gil Fagiani
THE CHESTER ARMS
A hot spring night in the Chester Arms.
Somebody jacks up the volume of the jukebox
and the room rocks to the sounds of
the Isley Brothers preaching
the gospel of pussy,
Chuck Jackson's "Beg Me."
I unbutton the collar of my uniform.
Joyce, slim, dark and doe-eyed sits across from me,
I can't keep my legs still.
She argues with one of her johns,
an Italian construction worker
covered with dirt and curly black hair.
The john pulls on her arm
spilling her Cutty Sark and milk
and she bounces a shot glass off his chest.
Mike, the bartender, takes his baseball bat
comes from behind the counter
and pushes them both out the door.
Avoiding the stares
of two brawny transvestites,
I listen to Ernest, a regular, boast
about his college days
when he drove a Porsche
and styled himself the Prince of Poon Tang.
I feed the juke box quarters
and down balls and beers
Ernest insists on paying for.
Out of the corner of my eye
I watch his wife,
a grizzly bear in a blonde wig,
hitting on every stud at the bar
wondering when Ernest is going to snap
and go upside her head.
Leaving to piss,
I return to Otis Redding's
"...gotta, gotta have it..."
the bass so loud the bar glasses rumble.
I hear scuffling in the lobby
and through a Dutch door
see Ernest whaling away
on one of the men his wife flirted with.
Buttoning my collar, I'm ready to split
when Ernest's wife backs me against the wall
shoves her hand between my legs,
"I hear cadet cock's the best there is," she says,
her wig as crooked as her smile.