portion of the artwork for Rusty Barnes' poetry

Combat Zone 1992: An Indictment
Rusty Barnes

Christopher hawks up a loogie and pitches it
mouthwise by the trashcan bolted to the curb,

“This place isn’t worth a shit,” he says.
“Let’s go over to the Glass Slipper,” he says,

“find us some classier-looking broads,”
and I am drunk on someone else’s dime

because I am shit-poor and horny both
and some men empathize with that,

willing to pay my way for me I assume
because I am good company to go to the titty

bar with, jovial and quiet at the same time,
the sidelong leer of most men here in direct

contrast to my naked need. Onstage is a girl
named Melody who jives like a snake

being charmed all hip snap and glitter bomb,
her eyes are lively and funny,

the way she flexes the G-string off her thigh
and slaps her ass. “Wouldn’t you college boys

like to gitcher hands on this?” she says,
and I would, we all would, and I would

like to say I recognized my pitiful lack
of self-control here but no, this is not

that kind of poem; it’s a judgment of the man
I was then and the man I became that I stuffed

another man’s five-dollar bill into the front
of her bikini then while my friends howled,

and later went home drunk as a dog,
and utterly pleased with myself.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 53 | Spring/Summer 2019