March 13, 2018

“Jolly Old Fellow” and Other Poems by Robert Joe Stout

“Jolly Old Fellow” and Other Poems by Robert Joe Stout

Hotel Doorman Passes the Time of Day, Mexico City 

“New, that one’s suit, bargain sale somewhere

but see, the woman with him: style, not ‘a la moda,’

just herself…and him? chingada! beltless jeans,

baseball cap, leftist for sure (they’re all alike),

that one hiding fat with shawls, ah! look,

politician—silk shirt, chin shaved so close

it shines (narcos buy Rolex watches,

Chargers t-shirts, whores wear open shoulder blouses,

spandex pants), banker that one, necktie

with a bit of swirl (see the clasp?)

and here? aerobic miss (who else could wear

jeans that tight?) Faces lie but clothes?

Clothes don’t hide what people want to hide. “

 

Lennon, after the First Hamburg Tour

Drank orange juice, ate eggs his foster

mother fried, watched re-runs on the telly,

sketched obscene cartoons. Beyond the ironed

curtains, Naugahyde, formica counters,

 

lights flicked off and on, the tour

from this perspective like a plunge into the id,

rooms filled with pinballs lighting up at once,

all balls in play but disconnected

 

from the score—or hands that might have thumped them

into meaning. He drank tea—drank lots

of tea—recounted money he had earned

(and blown on drugs, on boots, on birds) then flung

 

himself out of the house (to bum a beer,

he thought) but wound up in The Cavern,

sitting in, playing guitar again.

 

Pro Boxing Comes to Tijuana (1886)

 “After four rounds the referee, who was no less than Wyatt Earp…declared O’Neal the winner.”

                                                                                           —  Paul J. Vanderwood,  Juan Soldado

The boarded platform creaked beneath their plunging

back and forth, O’Neal’s nose smirched

with blood, Nugent’s eye half swollen shut.

Winchesters cocked, two soldiers monitored

the bills, the gold, wagered jewels.

Earp, between tequilas, darted to and fro,

the two combatants huffed and cursed

as bettors yelled and women hid their faces

in their shawls. Earp (for all we know

the only judge) shoved O’Neal’s hand upright

and “T.J.” as we know it now—red lights,

free drinks,  fat whores and graft—gorged

itself on what would be: alter ego

for the vice-enamored voyeur Yankeeland.

 

Nightgown

her breasts

press

 

against its gauze

like fish

 

trapped in a net

but swimming hard

 

Jolly Old Fellow

They asked how old he was: Lost count!

he lied. Memories? A fleeting wind

savored, gone… Yesterday

 

the same as fifty years ago:

lovers, wives, kids and baseball games…

Forgot their names but hey!

 

re-doing office walls slapped coworker

with a little paint, ha! Irate!

Had to pay her new hairdo, so what?

 

It could have happened yesterday…by God,

I think it did! Again he laughed. End of the line?

No such thing! Endings need beginnings

 

when does rain begin? Comes down,

evaporates, comes down again. Like life,

rain is. Like love, he smiled: is, just is.

 

 ***

Robert Joe Stout is a freelance journalist and poet who is originally from Wyoming but now lives in Oaxaca, Mexico. Some of his writing is political (Hidden Dangers, Why Immigrants Come to America) others have social or literary themes (Miss Sally, The Blood of the Serpent). His books of poetry include Monkey Screams and A Perfect Throw. To learn more, visit his Amazon author page.

1 comment
  • Sarah Kersey says:

    Love your work. I especially enjoyed “Lennon, after the First Hamburg Tour” and “Nightgown.”

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