A Last Run At Youth That Failed

Working on a college campus helps me feel young--even as the balding flap
in the back of my head gets bigger by the day.

So I had to admit that when I agreed to take out the senior work-study for
a couple of drinks, I was a little excited and aroused.

Her, twenty-one, on the cusp of beginning life in the "real world",
me--soon to be forty-two, still manning the guns but breaking down little
by little...

But I had that gleam back, that mid-20 year old anticipation when you know
some cocktails will lower inhibitions: and awkward conversation soon
emerges as laughs of provocative energy.

As the day rolled on, I found myself constantly looking in the mirror.

Rolling up the sleeves to show the arms.
Tucking in my shirt so the gut wouldn't protrude.
Picking at teeth, clipping nose hairs...
Anything to keep that youthful buzz fluttering in my stomach...

Picturing myself sitting at the bar, with a buxom queenie, ready to get the
party rolling.

When it was time to call it a day, my little charm girl still hadn't arrived.

I waited 10...15...20...minutes--then realized that this dream was a no-show.

I let my shirt out, let the sleeves run over my biceps, put on my Irish
Whiskey hat, and headed for my truck.

Still hoping that she'd be coming over the hill to my office.
Smiling with a sheepish grin...
Giving me the signal
"All systems clear, let's rock and roll!"

But that never happened.

Instead, I started the truck up and turned the radio to a classic rock station.
Freebird was blasting on the stereo and for a minute I felt like the
mischievous rebel I was in college.

I stopped into this little bar,"The French Connection", located in the
dregs of Worcester.

And as I ordered a beer and pulled out my money to play some Keno, I began
listening to the conversations some of the patrons were having.

"Fucking Whore, who is she to tell me to stop drinking".
"Ass-hole Boss, calls me in at 6 this morning to finish the addition".
"Are those tits real"?

I looked down at my gut, the same gut I was trying so hard to hide all day.

It's funny--no one noticed here that I was getting fat.

Many Girls

To all the girls I
never drank off my mind
(with apologies to Jagger) who
helped contribute to the regurgitated
Chef Boy-a Dee sprayed at various
taverns across the Commonwealth of

To all the girls who never wanted
my dick inside them--or just refused my
gruff sense of passion play.

To all those girls who are now fat, hideous and
brain dead while waiting for their nightmares to
come home stumbling through the door, drunk and despondent.

To all those girls.

I'm still here, betting on the winning horse.
Smiling all the way from tough turf to golden grain.

Dan Provost is 41 years old and reads a lot of poetry. Some of his favorites include:
Bukowski, Lyn Lyfshin, RC Edrington, JJ Campbell, and Arthur Rimbald. He has been
published in numerous poetry e-zines and small print magazines.

2003 Underground Voices