“BACK OF THE 40”

Last night, on the back of the 40, there was a dude who moved up here from Utah for work. "But I aint one of them pray-for-shit Mormons." He rolled joints and passed them out. "No thank you," an old lady with a shopping bag said. "I'll take hers," another woman hollered. It was a ball of laughs. "I guess this is what riding the bus will be like now that pot is legal," someone chimed in.

The dude from Utah told everyone about how he was twice divorced and a three time felon. And for each of those women, he was their fourth husband. "What can I say, I'm a sucker for a pretty face. These bitches-- they fucked me over. That's why I'm here. That's why." He then proceeded to down some Quaaludes. "I'll die without these," he said. "I'll shake like the San Andreas." He explained he's able to roll about 200 shots of these for such and such a price with his co-worker at the Pike Place Market, where he works off-hours, washing guard rails and scrubbing walls. "Bubble gum in urinals is the worst. Stupid assholes."

As the bus pulled in to downtown, the dude from Utah said, "oooh, we got some walkers out there tonight. Everyone take out your TWENTY and wave 'em at the one you want!" He explained that later on, he'd probably run into a guy he doesn't even know and split one at ten each with him. "Kinda sucks I'm at this point in my life where I don't even wanna buy one just for myself." I thought it kinda sucks that prostitutes don't charge a per participant fee for their time. Oh well.

He jolted me in my arm with his elbow. "Hey pal, you look like you're doing pretty good. Are you a lawyer?" Everyone on skid row thinks I'm a lawyer because I wear a long black wool coat with a suave gray scarf stretched over my chest. I don't know why they don't also ask if I'm Jewish. My face must look too German. I showed him how my sleeves are too short for my long arms. "If I were a lawyer, don't you think I'd be wearing something that actually fit me properly?"

"FUCK RIGHT YOU WOULD," he belched. "But it's a nice coat. You must be doing well. All I see around this town is that GORTEX shit. So what's your gig, what's your thing?"

I looked around. "I'm still figuring that out," I said dryly. "Bitches fucked me up too, pal."

"BITCHES! Aww MAN. FUCK EM," he said. And later on along with some stranger, he probably did.

He was an amazing dude from Utah and we both got off at the same stop. We were both down on our luck, I guess; Him worse than I. The only difference, when we got off, is that he walked the short distance down to the water and I walked the long path back up the hill.

It was raining in Seattle and darker than spit off a bridge. Little girls in velvet dresses were getting their photos with Santa Claus at Nordstrom. I didn't know where I was going and I didn't care. The street saxophonist blew out x-mas carols whilst his own two tiny kids danced in circles around him, wearing jackets that resembled potato sacks. Most everyone passed by smiling, appreciating his efforts, but leaving his open instrument case only filling up with cold rain and petty change. Somewhere, the dude from Utah was picking bubble gum out from the bottom of a urinal. I thought about how it must stretch from his fingers to the porcelain, dripping in piss. People are assholes. But tonight in the back of the 40, marijuana brought them together, so how bad of a thing can it be if the people of a state decide to legalize giving it out for free?

I took my joint out and asked the man on the corner selling dream catchers if he had a light. "Sure thing, ummm.. do you think I can I bum a hit?" I handed the thing to him. "Happy Holidays," I said and continued up the hill.

By the time I was crossing the bridge over I-5, it began raining harder. My glasses were fogged and dripping like bubble gum in the urinal. I stood by the railing, looking down on the traffic. There was nothing but the blur of headlights and rumors of a meteor shower. I smiled, looked up, and kept going until I reached the top of the hill.

There was no shooting star to wish on, but there was plenty of drizzle.

narrative poem written on 12-14-2012 by: on mattkane.com
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