Mongrel Dogs Prevail

“Read your poetry at this place,
Fifty dollars,” Mr. Blue said,
Sipping his chocolate martini,
‘It will be like taking candy from a baby”

“I don’t know –
Do old people like poetry?”

“What do you care?”
Mr. Blue smiled,
The large blue diamond
Implanted in his right front incisor
Twinkling so brightly

I arrived
At the appointed hour
And an attendant
Led me to the dining hall
Where a hard chair
Had been placed
In a corner between two walls

The elderly and ailing
Were yanked
Away from their televisions
And assembled
In a tight circle
About me

I beheld wheelchairs and death
Smelled the stench of endless boredom
Saw what God allows to happen
To honest men and women
And was appalled

Hands trembling
With uncertainty
I read
Selections from my chapbook
Mongrel Dogs Prevail
And glanced hopefully
Into the vacant eyes
Of the aged and infirm

An old man raised his bowed head
Sufficiently to peer
Deep into my eyes
“You call that poetry?”
He said with surprising gusto
For someone so withered with age

They all laughed at me

I bowed my head
And could not stop
My tears from flowing

“Take us away from this clown,”
An ancient old woman proclaimed,
“We are missing the latest installment
Of Judge Judy’s courtroom drama”

And so the old people cried out
For the attendants
And grumbling
Or were wheeled
Away from my humble poetic gathering

The old man who had leveled
The first verbal assault
Looked back over his shoulder
“Asshole,” he said to me
The others laughed

In some strange masochism
That I don’t wish to explore
I’m pleased that I was able to bring
Some merriment into the lives
Of these our suffering elders

But, damn you, Mr. Blue
What manner of man are you
To set me up this way?

Steven Gulvezan tries to work a story or poem the way a good butcher works a nice piece of meat – cut out most of the fat and gristle, leave something juicy on the bone. Links to some of his writings may be found at: www.mysterywriters.org/user/607

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