Pacific Telephone

you go for these wenches, she said,
you go for these whores,
I’ll bore you.

I don’t want to be shit on anymore,
I said,

when I drink, she said, it hurts my
bladder, it burns.

I’ll do the drinking, I said.

you’re waiting for the phone to ring,
she said,
you keep looking at the phone.
if one of those wenches phones you’ll
run right out of here.

I can’t promise you anything, I said.

then–just like that–the phone rang.

this is Madge, said the phone.    I’ve
got to see you right away.

oh, I said.

I’m in a jam, she continued, I need ten

I’ll be right over, I said, and
hung up.

she looked at me.   it was a wench
she said, your whole face lit up.
what the hell’s the matter with

listen, I said, I’ve got to leave.
you stay here.   I’ll be right back.

I’m going, she said.   I love you but you’re
crazy, you’re doomed.

she got her purse and slammed the door.

it’s probably some deeply-rooted childhood fuckup
that makes me vulnerable, I thought.

then I left my place and got into my Volks.
I drove north up Western with the radio on.
there were whores walking up and down
both sides of the street and Madge looked
more vicious than any of them.