friday night in the drunk tank

floating over the drunk tank hum
a voice
at the back of the holding cell
demands a phone call

warm blood
begins to move
back into my numb hands
from cuffs—too tight

tiny shards of glass
from a beer-bottle bar fight
embedded in my
blood-matted hair

crystal ringing
in my brain
like a beautiful
girl’s name

left eye swollen shut
thirteen dollars
stashed in the soles
of my old dingos

not enough for bail—
another friday night
in the city jail
for trying to make something

out of the emptiness
that crawls along
this boulevard
of half-remembered things

top of the world

matty killed
his ragging father
with a 1959
Les Paul FlameTop—

he tossed the body
into the back of his band’s
equipment trailer
& dragged it down
to the 39th precinct

now he’s playing
air guitar
in the day room
of the mental hospital

drugged body
confessin’ the blues
as doctors & social workers
look on
confused about what’s wrong

manic depressive?
or just another
pissed-off air guitarist—

duck walking—like chuck
stroking, SRV-style
behind the head
behind the back

right-arm windmills
frazzling the air
like the sad man
behind blue eyes

screaming over & over…

hey pop—
look at me
top of the world

hey you,

writer of shadow work
& simple rhymes
living in a shabby motel
on a blue highway
chain smoking
counting stitch marks
in old wrist scars

has solitaire
turned your character
to stone?

are your sanity markers
scattered like vandalized
in an abandoned churchyard?

are you down to scribbling
on restroom walls?—
no longer
a part of the picture

do you count ceiling cracks
when the lights
come on?

do you count
the number of times
you said
you’d never slide back?

maybe your parts
are just in backward
light, where dark should be
dark, where light should be

we have everything
you could ever want
right here—you can cry here
or quietly die here

after all
has been said & unsaid
done & undone
forgiven & unforgiven

we can help you
beautify your personal

right now—today

D.B. Cox is a blues musician/poet, originally from South Carolina. After graduating
from high school in 1966, he did a four year stint with the U.S. Marines, then moved
to Boston to attend the Berklee School of Music, where he eventually found the blues
circuit. He loves writing for the same reason he loves playing the guitar-a way to
communicate how he feels at a given time, on a given day. He now resides in
Watertown, Massachusetts. His writing has been published online in Zygote In My
Coffee, Remark, Underground Voices, Dubliner Quarterly and others, and in print in
Aesthetica, Snow Monkey, My Favorite Bullet and Open Wide Magazine.

© 2005 Underground Voices