I was riding on a tiger
when I came upon a land
that reeked of rotten eggs
and was under the command
of a man with restless legs
and eyes that quickly blinked.
A man whose main concern was
to seal his deals in ink.
The vacuum of his eyes
can rip the souls from mortal men.
An evil thing, whom all the townsfolk
believe is their good friend.
I hadn’t eaten in a week.
I went looking for a bite
and walked past thirty sports bars
showing gladiator fights.
I walked by packs of men in eights and nines
and tens and twelves
and on past hoards of women
who laughed like drunken elves.
When I finally reached the end
of the iniquitous vat,
I took a right and headed south
towards the smell of burning fat.
I walked into a diner full of smoke.
I couldn’t see.
They said there’d been a fire
that’d been started by some grease.
I looked down at a hat
on the checkerboard floor
and guessed the man who owned it
must not need it anymore.
I picked it up and put it on
then ordered up a plate
of creped suzette from a waiter
in a powder-blue cape.
I ate the meal, then to my horror
when I went to stand
I found I’d torn a gaping hole
in the bottom of my pants.
I looked over at the waiter
with a frown upon my face
and said, “I’m oh-so-very sorry,
but I can’t pay for this plate.”
He nodded once, then snapped his fingers.
Out walked a man
who corralled me to the back
and shoved a broom into my hands.
I dusted blues for several hours
‘for he said that I could go.
Then he picked me up and tossed me
through the massive front window.
I hit the ground with shards of glass
that shredded my right hand.
then pulled myself up to my feet
to see if I could stand.
My boots held me in place
and I bent to get my hat,
but it was stolen from me legally
by a foreign diplomat.
Immunity was granted by the cook
for the meal.
He said “I think you’ve learned
it’s not a bright idea to steal.
Now take your heavy carcass, son,
right on down the street.
And while you’re at it get a job.
Put better footwear on your feet.”
I smiled at him, a wicked grin,
then started on my way
wondering who else I’d meet
in that nighttime of the day.
Trudging in my tattered boots
in a rougher part of town,
a man came walking up to me.
He looked just like a clown.
His face was white. His lips were red.
His eyes were blue as steel.
He asked me for some change
so he could go and buy a meal.
I reached into my pocket
and gave him my last buck.
Then he walked into a liquor store
and I cursed my bad luck.
I continued down the sidewalk,
slightly angry with myself,
when a woman sauntered up to me
from off the bottom shelf.
She looked at me, said “For a fee,
babe, we can have some fun.”
Just then a crab jumped on my nose
and I turned around to run.
The man walked out the liquor store,
a bottle in his hand.
I ran into him; the bottle fell.
He graoned in anger, “Man!!”
I didn’t turn. I sped up
to continue on my course
outside the city limits,
where I saw a sorrel horse.
Its coat was red. Its eyes were wild.
It didn’t neigh, so much as roar.
And every sinful noise it made
reminded me of war.
I asked it where its brothers were,
but it only shook its head.
I continued down, away from town,
conversing with the dead.
Next thing I knew I saw a house
with a flag above the door
and realized in another life
I’d been this way before.
A man walked out, all barrel-chested,
wrinkles on his face.
I could see this was a man
who’d wear no poker face.
He said “Get out of here, son,
or I’ll tear you limb from limb.”
I said “You refused Bob Dylan too.”
He said, “Yeah, but you’re not him.”
He waved his hand, some dogs attacked
I was besieged on all sides
by hellhounds drooling with anticipation
of making me their pie.
I scrambled up into a tree
and prayed to see a cop.
I yelled out to a white car
with blue lights upon the top.
It cruised on by the tree branch
where I’d perched all alone.
The public servant didn’t notice me.
He was talking on his phone.
One dog could climb. It climbed real fast
and latched on to my foot.
The others stayed down on the ground
to gnaw upon the root.
I shook my leg, the way I do
when I take a leak.
The ghoulish canine fell to earth.
The man began to speak.
“Come down from there, you little fiend.
In this place you don’t belong.”
I looked the man right in his eyes
and said to him, “You’re wrong.”
© Copyright 2016 Thomas Sorrell. All rights reserved.