I love you in other words

Marie says,
"Let me go,"
as she fills her cupped hands
with tears
and I blow smoke
at the noon heat hanging
like Satan lynched
outside her second story window.

Last week she broke down
like an old dodge bought on 6th street
for a C-note,
so the doctor prescribed Xanax
and the writing of therapeutic screeds
about me in her bedside

She wants a man she can introduce
to her friends
A man who'll go to office parties
and mingle and talk sports
with her successful, socially well-adjusted
Someone who'll have something normal
to say when the nice lady
from Human Resources asks,
"So what is it you do?"
Something more appropriate than:
"Eat, drink, shit and fuck."

So it's up to me
to do the right thing
and "let her go"
No more horny midnight phone calls
No more lies about what I did the night before
No more drunken speeches about life and death
No more racing my twisted soul
down her straight and narrow heart

She often asks if I love her
and I guess
if I can do this then
I do.

Playing Strip Poker and Out of Booze, Two Youths Run Into the Night, Down to the
Liquor Store and Past The Future

We ran like cheetahs after wildebeests
All instinct
Dripping sweat and bravado
Our eyes bright gauntlets thrown down
to challenge the moon.

Our women waited back at the apartment
drowning in candlelight and tequila
thinking us bastards and fools
but powerless to resist us.

And I believe the old man
out for a late night stroll
who shook his head
at the site of our bodies,
shirtless and on fire,
did so not out of contempt
but despair
that old age had stripped him
of this nuclear powered ferocity
that he too once possessed.

I turned my head
as we streaked past him
and noticed his fists clinched
and empty
like a deposed tyrant
a phantom scepter.

The Next Best Thing To Enlightening The Ignorant Is Fucking With Them

Riding in the elevator
up to the 18th floor
of the Los Angeles Criminal Court Building
an old man jokes,
"I hope those Iraqis
don't decide to attack
right now."
Now, in a criminal court elevator
you have to assume that
99 percent of the occupants
are quarter-wits
while the other 1 percent
(me in this case)
are only half-wits,
so the quarter-wits chuckle
at the old man's remark
and the half-wit says,
"Shit man,
when those fuckers attack
it won't matter
what floor you're on."
The old man briefly ponders
and then nods solemnly
saying, "Yes, yes,
I guess that's true,"
then the elevator doors open
and a middle aged prosecutor
looks away from the lot of us
with a wry smile of superiority...
it's his turn next..

Greg Scharf lives in Los Angeles, CA. He has work in upcoming issues of Mouseion,
My Favorite Bullet, Zygote in My Coffee, Lunatic Chameleon and on the San Gabriel
Valley Poetry Quarterly calendar. His website is at

2005 Underground Voices