Hawley’s leaving town

this guy
he’s got a crazy eye
and he’s brown
a dark brown from the sun
the Hollywood and Western sun
the racetrack sun
he sees me and he says,
“Hey, Hawley’s leaving town
for a week.   He messes up
my handicapping.   Now
I’ve got a chance.”

he’s grinning. he means it:
with Hawley out   of town
he’s going to move toward
that castle in the Hollywood Hills;
dancing girls
six German Shepards
a drawbridge,
ten year old
wine.

Sam the Whorehouse Man
walks up and I tell Sam that
I am clearing $150 a day
at the track.
“I work right off the
toteboard,” I tell him.
“I need a girl,” he tells me,
“who can belt-buckle a guy
without coming out with all
this Christian moral bullshit
afterwards.”

“Hawley’s leaving town,”
I tell Sam.
“Where’s the Shoe?”
he asks.
“Back east,” says an old man
who’s standing there.
he has a white plastic shield
over his left eye
with little holes
punched into it.

“That leaves it all to Pinky,”
says dark brown.

we all stand looking at each
other.
then a silent signal given
we turn away
and start walking,
each in a different direction:
north south east west.

we know something.