to hell in a handbag
© 2001 by PJ Nights

i unsphincter my lips
from their eight-hour pucker
and try to blink away the retina-seared image
of the head honchoís ever-widening ass.

at the bank, i loosen my tight-fisted grip
on my bi-weekly pay;
i'm beyond the point where
my landlord will take superball checks.
i need the cash.

back out into an early Friday evening,
a whiff of cabbage
from the dumpster behind OíFlanaganís
brings back the barely-curbed, whispered
advances of my boss,
has me breathing deeply of the green
in my wallet to squash the nausea.

suddenly i canít take the sordidness of my life:
drooling leers from a fat old man,
pissy drafts at pool hall happy hours,
drooling leers from fat young men.

i want a cocktail or a spritzer
a new dress and handbag and shoes to match.
at the boutique i blow my wad,
shoehorn the pumps into the remaining
slot on my VISA,
leave K-Mart designer line in a heap
on the dressing room floor.

for the price of one glass of wine at the bistro
and my new look,
i get the rest of my alcoholic haze for free
and a man who doesnít smell
like Aqua Velva and old Fritos.

i wake to a mouthful of sweaters,
pounding head and pounding on the door.
my landlord didnít quite get my monetary emergency,
but i still have my apartment -
another month traded for a Louis Vuitton ready-to-wear
and matching shoes.
i hope his mistress enjoys them.

hell, at least being broke
means no groceries;
starvation diets are good for my figure.
donít i look great in just a purse?
my mother always said
you could judge a lady by her purse.


Slow Trains Spring 2002