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Autumn in the Rusty Rat Inn
[ September 9, 1994]

September sun so hot it
bastes my beer, while a nameless
barmaid with shrink-wrapped buttocks
leans over my shoulder,
her pendulous breasts
grazing my libido.
I ask what sweet flower she's
been rubbing all over herself?
Essy-LOW-der, she allows, 
maybe Friendly or Lover,
the sun twitter pates my brain,
but I had this beau once called
it mount-me dew and he sure should
know, if memory serves me.

The Rusty Rat Inn reminds
me of one of those trees
outside a Buddhist temple
where worshipers tie paper
wishes to the branches
and bang a bronze bell
to beg the indulgence of bonzes.
Much asked, little delivered,
the trees filled with rice paper
butterflies that age to yellow.
You learn that asking ain't
receiving, the best odds is
minding your own libation.

Not that I disapprove
Of pheromonic intentions
but I learned in the way-back-when
never  to bet
on love meandering down
the honky tonk river.

Don't remember how many
brews I threw down that night
but come closing, I got out
to the baby Blue Bronco,
found her with a boot upon
the front bumper, smiling that
way a woman gets when
she's made up your mind for you.

She had that sort of half smile
that suggested it could stretch
the limits of lust and luck
on imagination alone.
Low tolerance for small talk,
she whispered at me,
I don't mind if it's your
place or mine, or the back end
of Bronco, long as we get
this show on the road, PDQ.

What's a chump bet in a bar
when the sun's hanging high
is no bet at all when you
find the bare leg of lady
carved shiny
as Madagascar eel skin,
curved so alluringly
it looks like God used
his tongue for calipers,
starin' up from a Tony
Lama red-lizard boot
with a silver toe cap
perched on my chrome bumper
under a lemon-colored moon.

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