Good Night Request
Black-haired Karen was nobody’s bimbo.
Sometimes a dj, sometimes a record store
clerk or a magician, she wore no makeup,
stopped at the drugstore every day to buy
mints that kept her breath fresh. When I
asked her what she wanted to be after she
grew up, the answer: Oh, a lawman.
Or a dancer’s arabesque. Every man
who saw her said, Here comes Trouble.
I didn’t. She carried a tote bag full
of seashells, tiny elephants, and glass
eggs. Most men called her a wild dog.
Anything but. A country and western
singer, too, she used her voice to charm
the audience, make it blush, or interrupt
its thoughts. As an encore, she chanted
Om for three minutes. A punishing delight.
They loved it. One night a squid
with a buzz cut yelled, I was robbed!
I wanna tongue your belly button!
The crowd booed him from the theater.
None of it bothered black-haired Karen.
She downed a beer, rummaged in her tote.
A blue jay flew out the door. After
the concert, she fried a pound of onion rings
for us and said, Well, before you go,
Squid, I wanna tongue your belly button.
David Spicer has had poems in Alcatraz, Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, Reed Magazine, Santa Clara Review, Chiron Review, Ploughshares, The American Poetry Review, and elsewhere, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net three times and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems,Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and five chapbooks, the latest of which is From the Limbs of a Pear Tree (Flutter Press), released in August of 2017. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.