portion of artwork for Dennis Mahagin's poems

Detective Hargitay Gets an Earful
of Her Favorite Psychological Profiler,
Drunk-Dialing On Speed

Dennis Mahagin

Oh, it’s hard enough
to extend your stay in the company
of a bore, who’ll swell up, say
the name of every rich and famous
actor who’s ever done a voice-over
ad spot for a major corporation, until
the bit, it’s not uncanny, nor even
funny anymore.

Tricky as hell to hang
with a liar, who’ll shirk
back and cook the garlic bread with sea salt in a micro-
wave, pull it out and swear it’s soup, a kind of consommé
with chive and dumpling, smacking lips and insisting
that somehow it has been your fault, your fault
from the very beginning.

And what is there, to say, one way or
the other, about a whore in chiffon and busted heels
stumbling out of a Las Vegas 7 Eleven like a fawn
at dawn? Long hot drink of water with an ass hurts
you more than her, but a face to remind—she’s
Daughter … and somewhere close by, a pimp
from Chechnya in goose down bathrobe,
Dutch rub, snub nose, eye sore
gray matter.

And you’re never bored, riding shotgun
with a neurotic, who’ll send you back to check
the stove top burners, twice before you even get
to the end of the block—those die hard
squids and puffer fish with cracks to skirt
and knocking wood, knocking,
would look good in, say, a Che
Guevara doo rag as a bald cap
like every Jersey Steve who sang
back-up for Springsteen,
while burning

to act. Yes, it’s beyond tough
to relax with a schizophrenic,
so often, a shock and daunting to catch him
down on Pike street at dusk, in that sliver
of a window before the sodium lights snap
on, throwing an arm in the air, spring
loaded in late autumn, like an umpire
calling Strike!
as if to expend what it takes
to scare starlings from power lines,
a con, jogging backwards down the up
slope screaming at the Sound, that
everything is going to be just
fine, and when I say

addict …. Let’s just think
of train whistles and prosthetic
limbs, of Nicholas Cage
with the shakes,
a severance check he can’t
sign and six thousand
nerve ganglia going off
like napalm-coated king snakes
and mescal worms
in the Mojave.

Nick Cage, yes, for a moment let’s simply hold
onto him who fears the corporate voice-over lords
like a gateway to catatonia, like a yawn that stops
the heart, because when you can’t sign your own
name anymore, it’s a shame

what transcends,
tricky as two banshee moans
in a Santa Ana, some sick
and sordid timbre in the ring tone,
to deny, before

hanging it up,
and hey, have I ever told you about
the psychic who slipped me a mickey,
yanking my chain? She drew a perfect circle
in the dirt, and jabbed it, jabbed it, as if
things could never be more plain … a ringer
in her noose, but God made it rain. I slip,
dearest Mariska, I abstain.

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FRiGG: A Magazine of Fiction and Poetry | Issue 27 | Law & Order Issue | Winter 2010