UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY

DAVID P. BATES

DAYS OF VANITY

the strip club off post
has $2 drafts &
              bearable girls
& mostly decent music
if you arenít there
for the music

I tell her Iím here
for the beer special
& Iíll tip her on stage
& the customary dollar
              when she makes her rounds
but I definitely donít want to spend
$20 on a lap dance

she tells me her stage name
which of course isnít really her name
but Iíve learned itís impolite
              to ask otherwise
              especially if youíre trying to
be sincere

a few drafts & well shots later
& who knows what I was
              thinking about
I tell her I want to
watch her dance to
              Voices Carry
              by Til Tuesday
a single song on the main stage
& Iíll pay her that 20

she says she loves that song, baby
but the DJ doesnít have it
              she offers a song
Iíve never heard of

so I leave & drive
              to the music store
the afternoon Texas sun
magnified through the windshield
              boiling the alcohol
to the surface of my skin
but thereís a certain feeling of
              invisibility
to driving drunk in daylight

when I get back
sheís working on
              Davenport & Wolf
who are trying to convince her
that theyíre only there for the
              beer special

I give her the CD
& she gives it to the DJ
& I buy her a $6 whiskey
              while we wait
              for her next set

she says I should give her my #
says sheíll call me sometime
              sheíd give me hers
              but the law
defines it as prostitution

& suddenly itís
              too late
the illusion is exposed

when she finally dances she dances
                            to the simplest beat
until the few of us that are watching
              realize
that she doesnít know the song
              or if she does
she doesnít understand it
              or if she does
she doesnít really like it enough
                            to even pretend

when itís overĖ
I give her the 20
& tell her to keep the CD

I give her my telephone #
w/ the wrong prefix & I
              ask her what her
              real name is

itís a plain enough name
to be believable
but I still donít
              believe her

even the plainness is ruined

even the plainness
              is a conceit now


David p Bates is the publisher of the deadline-delinquent INTERIOR NOISE PRESS, and editor of the irritatingly-irregular MY FAVORITE BULLET. He would like to say his poems have been rejected by such illustrious mags as Ploughshares, Paris Review, Poetry.com-- but he never bothered to submit. He currently resides in Austin, TX.







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