UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY


JAMES BABBS

Kaitlyn

when we got back to my house
she started looking at all the books
lining the shelves in my living room
have you read all of these
she asked
I said no
but most of them
some more than once
she told me
she wasn't much of a reader
but she loved music
for the first time
I noticed how young she was
at the bar she'd come over to me
sliding into the seat next to mine
when she asked me to buy her a drink
I took one look at her
and said of course
maybe
if I had been a better man
I would have sent her home
I would have told her to stop
hanging out in bars
stop going home with strangers
maybe
I would have told her
to find herself a nice young man
and do something with her life
but I didn't
no
I led her down the hallway
into the bedroom
and drowned myself in
the warm ocean of her youth
I took everything from her
she was willing to give me
and for those few hours
life didn't feel so terrible
for those few hours
lost inside the darkness
I got to hold her
and touch her
and I didn't feel old
or tired
or alone


More Reasons For Drinking

as if I didn't have
enough of them already
this weekend I've come up with
even more reasons for drinking

earlier in the week
the car broke down
and I had to have it towed home
and it cost me over six hundred dollars
to get it running again

and they've been talking about
layoffs at work again
because
things are really slow now
and have been for several weeks

and then there was my sister
calling me early one morning
pulling me out of a good sleep
she cried into the phone about
something I'd done to her
and I just laid there
listening to her go on
and I didn't say anything

and I just found this birthday card
my girlfriend sent me last year
telling me
how much she loved me
but we're not together anymore

and now I'm sitting here
watching the clouds through the window
thickening across the sky
the light getting darker all the time
it looks like it's going to rain


Maybe She's Waiting

maybe she's waiting for me
parked in the driveway
listening to the radio
with the engine turned off
she knows
I'm on my way home
just a few miles away
we haven't seen each other
we haven't talked in--
how long has it been?
I guess
it's longer than I think
but I can see her there
sitting in her little black car
maybe she's waiting
because
she wants to tell me
she's sorry
when I get there
she'll get out
and run over to me
I'll look at her beautiful face
before kissing her on the mouth
I'm getting closer now
my house not too far away
just past this last thicket of trees
over the next rise
I can't hardly wait
I'm almost there


I still live and die a little each day in the same small town where I grew up. I work for the government but don't like to talk about it. I like getting drunk and writing and sometimes it's hard to tell the difference because both of them can be very intoxicating. I don't like okra and never did but I could eat lima beans every day of the week. Some recent poems have appeared in my dreams and in-Abbey, Gutter Eloquence, Fight These Bastards, Verse Wisconsin and Zygote In My Coffee.







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