You Know Nothing

Shoulder to a wooden post,
I watch my soul brothers in the cold,
Dying from a passed-around joke,
Rum in veins, dock men at work,
Struggle well with oak barrels of dry food
at the honking Bouchet Marina,
While lesser men offer libation now at neon bars,
Tiny straws, too much ice,
A little umbrella.
Busy day,
They say one to another,
Busy day.
They know nothing.

I used to be one too,
a longshoreman,
Open for business 6:45 till whistle.
Now a constant story cooks in my stomach,
An idler man smoking a cig finely in the wind,
While better men draw swords in dreams,
Or dream of fortune and fish,
I carry about,
cursed to scripting painful fictions
In the dead of night,
Of buried islands and exhumed dictators,
Dragging around the headaches of gone champions,
Hemingway,
Fante,
Fitzgerald,
Achebe,
Bukowski,
You fools,
You have made this living so deadly,
I compose many such dead-night drivels for you,
We laugh about me,
We laugh at me,
Light of day, they will never see,
Let this be our only thing,
Secrets you cannot now reject,
You know too much as is,
Let this stench sip into your sleeping bones,
You owe me,
And they know nothing.

Being a library-man isn’t a raging dream,
That fine poison of a desk job,
You befriend butchers on account,
I know one too many,
Hacking with blunt bestsellers.
Librarians make rotten writers too,
And toxic small-talk,
Too many masters claim a single mind,
It stifles any advantage,
We talk ourselves into a dark secret on occasion.
But it is up to scratch.

There is earnest grace here that kills gently,
Good hours,
Honest books,
Moping book-lovers,
A fool you can tell,
by the way he holds a book,
Muses come and go.
Metal detectors go off on occasion,
Then the fun begins.
Old stone calluses on my fingers bite,
Reminding as brown simple pages flip fast,
Leaving no side-effects.
It is a life with little to fight with.

This time of evening,
The Marina brands a striking portrait
Of dreamless men bent and breaking self to earn,
The American dream is used up.
The smallest man in the center is Baptiste,
He’s been here 12 years,
Two cardiac arrests, and three wives.
There’s Casanova too,
Dying from the weight of his own head.
Smoking women with long legs wait in the cold stoops,
In the dark behind light posts,
To flare our nights,
They are the gold-dusts of humanity,
Open for business even now,
A little something for charity,
And there’s Butterfly among them,
She left Ukraine with a red shoe,
Never looked back since,
She has a thing,
A passion for my poetry,
On the back of toilet papers.

Baptiste waves,
The tally begins,
Now each man will know joy for his pain.
I light a stick,
Arrange plots in my head,
To become a hopeless read to better spirits,
A little something for Butterfly.
“Shoulder to a wooden post”
I open terribly,
It is my blood that leaks now from a severed artery,
The taste of metal in my gullet.
Such lines in writing recite like an off-color joke.
Rhymes too,
they make us vile and smell of death.
If you’re reading this, I apologize.
I know nothing.

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