I'm in a bordello sampling luncheon meats with Stalin.
He prefers the low sodium roastbeef to the full-flavor.
He has expensive tastes. It would be nice if we had
sliced bread, but most nice if we had us a toaster,
peppered Havarti, and some sauerkraut.
Stalin dismisses such a suggestion and orders
a prostitute who can turn her penis outside-in,
like a windbreaker, to bring us very flaky croissants.
I've learned not to argue & besides, flaky croissants are surely
no worse than simply eating sliced meat out of plastic bags.
We are joined by bald monks wearing leather-jackets & hospital bracelets.
They come in and set up stickered instrument cases on the stage.
Stalin & I crawl up to the footlights, dragging
two cases of bourbon tied to our feet.
At least 40 monks are now on stage
and each one has a different kind of electric guitar.
Flying Vs, Gretschens, Les Pauls, Stratocasters, Telecasters...
They each have a smallish tube amp, 2 cords, &
a wah-wah pedal. At once a low buzz
drifts to Stalin & I eating roastbeef mayonnaise croissants
on the trashy floor. The monks have turned all the
amps on and the roof of the bordello has retracted,
revealing it was a major sports dome disguised for the day
as a bordello. The night is cool and the stars white against
that black sky look like a giant huffing white
paint huffed too hard and sneezed the stars
out onto the garage-wall of night.
In the freezer of Stalin's eyes, I find a forgotten
ice cold Nehi orange soda. I crack it open
with the ring of sharkteeth I wear as a garter.
It is so good. It reminds me of being
a child, with parents I still loved, on a trip to the mountains.
Stalin will never understand the low, old mountains
of Southeastern America or how I loved them,
their blue-gray fogs, their trees like frozen
fire in the autumn...
Like this we spent most of our 20s, and that was what it was like being a young adult in a country with vast wealth, even when the monks started to play and you felt the world become a thousand rhythmical, yodeling knives stabbing eyeholes into your barracks-full of masks.