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Kristofer Collins: Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues

for Rich Gegick

Hey Rich, I was just here thinking

of that time at Gooski’s when Suspicious

Minds came on the juke and a girl

who kept turning up, bad penny-like,

let rip this huge guffaw, one I’d heard

in other bars on other nights and once

at AIR on the North Side at some punk

show, a laugh she must have gotten

from her dad, some proud and slightly

embarrassing inheritance, but hell this

thing boomed around the bar, like Nagasaki,

man, and I never did get a glimpse

of that girl but I loved her. That laugh

would shatter me, impale my atoms

to the wall, ache me quake me, you know,

and I’d pop my head up like a goddamned

rocket and scan the scene, desperate-like,

where is she?, never did catch sight

of her, but I know she sure was there,

somewhere in the smoke and noise,

and Timmy behind the bar, or Larry

pouring us another pitcher, and Elvis, too,

he was there back in the kitchen deep-frying

chicken wings, slinging pierogies, hot butter

all over the place, all over his chin, coz he

drank that shit straight, and crying the whole

time, his mother gone more than half a century  

and he’s still gutted by the knowledge

that he is truly and forever alone and nothing

funny about it.


Kristofer Collins’s many collections of poetry include The River is Another Kind of Prayer (Kung Fu Treachery Press, 2019). He lives in Pittsburgh.

Copyright 2022 Kristofer Collins

Kristofer Collins

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This entry was posted on June 21, 2022 by in Poetry and tagged , , , .

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