The Faces and the Voices and the Rest of It

I wake up
and call in sick to work
because some days the faces
and the voices
and the rest of it
are just a bit too much to face
and time is needed just to stare at walls
or get righteously drunk
or do nothing at all
which seems to be a dying art
in a dying world
it is a Sunday afternoon
and I walk along Geary Boulevard
until I find a bar that has no name
just a doorway to a darkened little room
an escape hatch from the day
I duck in there
and the bartender is kind
I order a beer and she gives me that
and a shot of something on the house
I look up at the television screen
and see the city of New Orleans
and a voice says hey Elvis
I turn my head
and at the end of a bar
a blonde woman old enough
to be my mother
flashes her tits
I smile weakly and buy her a beer
glad to have found
a new place to hide.

A Sad Story

I donít care about the money,
he said, I mean I
stole it anyway

but she left me there on the corner
cold and drunk at 3a.m.

I gave her 40 dollars

she said she was gonna get us
a room with a TV
and some weed
she just had to talk to a guy
and everything would be set

she was gonna do me up real good
she was gonna treat me right

I mean, I ainít stupid
I donít usually trust nobody but
her face was kind and she
held my hand

I gave her 40 dollars

and she left me there on that corner
drunk and stupid at 3 a.m.

I donít care about the money,
he said, it just made me feel
so lonely.

This Side

3 a.m. in the Tenderloin
and outside my window
itís a strange parade

the taxicabs roll
up and down

the junkies
and the crazies
the killers
and the drunks

do an ancient dance

the sellers of
bodies and souls
the homeless
and the lost

sing their broken songs

itís quite a show
and itís all free
as long as you stay
on this side
of the window.

William Taylor Jr. currently lives in San Francisco
with his wife and a cat named Trouble. His poems
and stories have appeared widely in the small press
for over a decade now and he has books forthcoming
from Centennial Press and Sunnyoutside. He calls
in sick to work more often than he should.

© 2006 Underground Voices