Charles Newman

you slide into
the narrow booth like
it was a custom-made silk gown
like you
are the only reason this place

red and purple neon
shower you [make you look exotic]

[naive bastards with no lives of their own]
obsessed with their fantasies
inspired by their crushing loneliness
stare at you
until you glance back at them
like you don’t know what’s up
like you couldn’t care less

I sit back in my dark corner and take it all in

oh yes - you are very good at this
enthralling little game nobody regrets
until the gate slams shut behind them

everybody sits everybody waits
seduced by your cool
numb to any other reality
carnally addicted
sensually inept
naive artless innocent

so here we sit sister
uninterested [except in each other]
making small talk to small people
purposefully avoiding each other
subtly sneaking a peek

small sacrifices accumulate like dust
landing lightly on kodachrome

you play it your way I play it mine
determined to walk away unbloodied

remembering nothing
knowing everything

tonight [like
every other night] you work me
do a ballet on my last nerve

nothing in my repertoire
puts a stop to this game
[can you deny I work you as well
golden girl?]

everyone leaves this place
like casualties of war innocent victims

except us

ain’t nothing innocent about us

Born in Newark, NJ; fronted punk band Dead Seals and industrial damage band Minimalogic; has read in NYC, London, Louisville, etc.; part of spoken word outfit, Mouth & Hands; living in Chicago, IL.