Drinking with Junkyard Dogs
by Chase Dimock
The whiskey sweats evaporate
hang like a cloud above the bar.
The room is a dog’s mouth panting
on his breath the scent of all he stole
from the table and dragged off to chew alone.
You come here to see the void stare back.
Pabst-eyed and ham steak cheeked
belly up with the other goldfish in the stein.
The second hand of the clock cannot make it
to the top of the hour. It just twitches
like a dying roach leg between future and past.
The intimacy of the bartender’s thumbprint
on your glass and your lips pressed
against his flesh map. The beer is cold,
the affect is warm, and you settle your neck
awry, to fit the skew of the formica walls.
It’s the pleasure you deserve: a candy bar
eaten in the bathroom when you’re on a diet
the stink sinking into the creamy nougat
It’s the judgement everyone assumes:
when anyone picked from the lineup is guilty
of something else anyway.
There are no windows, and nobody knows
if it’s so nobody can see in, or so nobody
can see out. There is nothing outside the bar.
A muffler shop closed for the evening.
A doberman yawning behind a rusty fence
and everything else that grinds its teeth on metal
at day and stands on four legs at night.
Chase Dimock is the author of Sentinel Species and the Managing Editor of As It Ought To Be Magazine. Check out more poems at chasedimock.com