One Block Off Bourbon
The finger-snapping man guiding people into the nightclub with slicked-back hair and winning ways sits on the toilet head down drunk old tuxedo on a nail as the street follows him up the stairs up the stairs into his room and down the stairs down the stairs into the street while down the hall in a room five feet wide and twelve feet long with one wall green and one wall purple, yellow door and window black, I lie in bed admiring the baby roaches that climb my walls and wonder about myself for liking them as the lights and the noise and the knowing all fade.
Working in the 5 a.m. New Orleans shipyard, scraping the inner-hulls of monstrous river-gone grain haulers after the other midnight- ending job— orange rust showering below and beyond and upon us we pause to watch from fifty-foot ladders the Korean crew execute their militaristic assault upon their own spotless deck. So tiny! So fast! And strangely vicious. Yes, then. We return to our union-slow chiseling of rust, sweeping of water and hot private dreams of being fired and finally sleeping the sleep of the damned and the free.
After a rather extended and varied second childhood in New Orleans (street musician, psych-tech, riverboat something-or-other, door-to-door poetry peddler, etc.), Matt Dennison finished his undergraduate degree at Mississippi State University where he won the National Sigma Tau Delta essay competition (judged by X.J. Kennedy). His work has appeared in Rattle, Natural Bridge, The Spoon River Poetry Review, and Cider Press Review, among others. He currently lives in a 108-year-old house with “lots of potential.”