sitting at the bar when
In walks this guy with a slit throat
Bleeding like you can’t believe
He pulls up the
stool next to mine
Orders a double Jameson
“Why aren’t you dead yet?”
“I’m not the dying type.”
woke up at nine but stayed in bed
until after eleven
the morning of
The Beginning Of The End.
I did not know
I was thinking about my baby,
how far away she
Then the phone rang, Big Al on the line
stolen car he wanted to sell me.
Thanks Al but I’m not
Then the phone rang again,
Eugene on the line
with a stolen computer he
wanted to sell me.
Gene, but I’m not buying.
All I really wanted to buy
Tombstone for my dead dad’s grave.
Joburg had a stolen
Tombstone to sell me.
Kishke did some calls,
got me the cheapest deal on a brand
I didn’t bother showering, walked
down to Four Ways Mall in socks and sandals.
Deposited R4261,44 into Mannie’s account
the depositor’s name and/or reference
By now it was after twelve, Yahoo was
so I walked along Granite Road up to the Spa,
right into Uranium. Stopped in at Exit
Bonnie Prince Billy gave me a Coke
for free. Then I footed
it back through to
Fourways Crossing, caught Boxcar Willie’s
eye at the escalator. He was looking for work
hadn’t any. Gave him two rand.
There was the smell of veld fire in the air,
of sirens. I carried on walking.
Round the corner at the
Pine Slopes Spa
there’s Blind Willie Johnson again.
he’s got a number to call for work
depressionist painting. No phone to call on.
His buddies in a throng, milling around.
I said, c’mon,
let’s go phone at the BP.
When we got to the BP I
broke a twenty,
phoned Anne Boleyn with my best voice on;
told her Willie Wonka was reliable.
She said she’d
give him R60 a day for diverse
painting and odd jobsing.
Then the five of us
went for a celebration at Colonel
Drive-Thru Funeral parlour.
Willie Bobo and Harrison Ford
and Frank Harris and S’Busiso
the Zulu and me.
I took their names down in my little black
where I keep all the information for the Big Guy.
I heard a laugh from the table adjacent.
Sweet voice from
“take my name too.”
Her name was
She hadn’t read Jane Austen yet,
seen the movie.
It must have been 2:30pm when we met.
mother came to fetch her at three.
I left Kentucky,
waved goodbye to Willie,
Harris, Frank and S’Busiso
Got a call from Mannie The
“Thanks for the money.”
I looked at my clock.
It was three fifteen, Joburg
I was glad I didn’t have a tv.
slept for a while.
Got up at five.
Walked back to the
bought a bottle of Simonsvlei Shiraz,
drank it until
it was empty.
Started a fire with scraps of furniture.
Listened to the radio.
Got a call from my baby in
She was crying.
“Whole world is busy
killing and dying.”
Called her back,
she had a man she could rely on.
It’s funny how
everything banal takes on
world’s about to end.
I sat down and typed this
Hey Big Guy,
don’t forget I’ve
paid my Tombstone Dues.
Got the slip to prove it.