UNDERGROUND VOICES: POETRY
DAVID LaBOUNTY

Drinks and Dares

he told me that they
never went out much
because there wasn't
a lot of extra money
for baby-sitters and
evenings of excess
but there was this one
time they decided
to celebrate their
income tax refund
with a buddy of his from work
and both of their wives.

the four of them went out to this
restaurant leaving their
kids behind with a gum
chewing babysitter and
a vow to be back by
1 a.m. they sat at the
bar of this restaurant and
never made it to the table
and the night was warm
and the women wore dresses
with short skirts and high heels
and he liked the way his wife
looked that night and she
seemed to glow in a youthful
way despite the weariness
of her thirty-something years and
the four of them, they drank and
drank and there were drinks
and dares and ideas popped
into their heads that had never
been their before.

well,

he had those ideas before, had those
fantasies before but never told
his wife about them and the four
of them piled into his wife's minivan,
stopped at a liquor store and
made their way to a motel
on the edge of town and
before he knew it the dares
came to life as he and
his buddy sat in stained
cloth chairs drinking beer as his wife
and his buddy's wife lost their
dresses and got into bed and
put on a show and it was
something he had dreamed of,
watching his wife make it
with another woman like so
many pornographic movies.

but his wife was no porn star.

she looked fleshy and pale
and awkward as she fondled
his buddy's rail thin wife
with mosquito bites for breasts
and he and his buddy, they were too
drunk to be aroused and too drunk
to be disgusted and finally the women
were done and they seemed suddenly
sober and he and his buddy couldn't
even look at each other as he dropped
him and his wife off at their minivan parked
at the restaurant. the drive home
was in silence and he tried to talk to his
wife about what had happened after
he paid off the drowsy babysitter.
but his wife wouldn't look at him
and she went to check in on their
sleeping and young and innocent
children and the debauchery of the
evening gave way to guilt and sorrow
and his wife cried silent tears as
she stared at her youngest and sleeping
and innocent child.


Business

gold earrings, white
Cadillac and hair
and she is at
my counter
close to tears
because the
tire we fixed
two days ago
is flat again
and she is
on the way
to the doctor
because her
husband has a
follow-up appointment
after his
stroke last month
and he grunts
and almost drools
as he sits in
the waiting room
and she says

I tell you, bad
luck happens
in threes, first
Del's stroke
and then
two
flat tires

and I say
I'm sorry
and that
we'll fix
it right away
and I want
to tell her
about Bob
in the back
with throat
cancer and
hypertension
and how he
is in so much
pain but he
can't afford
to not work
even though
busting tires
pays nine bucks
an hour and
there is of
course my
own clichéd
life of late
notices and
a string of
bounced
checks that
are bouncing
still. No, I
don't tell her
anything.
Bob fixes the tire
quickly and
his face
is so red that
I'm afraid it's
going to explode
all over her
white Cadillac
and I give
her back
the keys
and without
looking her in
the eye I say
thank you,

thank you for your business.


American Apartheid

the fence is a road eight lanes wide and don't go south
of that road if you're white because you won't feel
safe even if there is no good reason
to be afraid and don't go north
of that road if you're black,
black and young and male
because the cops will
zero in on you
like a pack
of wolves
tracking
a dying
deer.


David LaBounty lives in suburban Detroit with his wife
and two young sons. His poems have appeared in several
print and online journals and he is the author of two
barely read novels, The Trinity and The Perfect Revolution.







© 2008 Underground Voices