City of the Living Dead Poem by Duane Locke


ARRIVAL AT THE CITY OF THE LIVING DEAD

When I first arrived in Tampa,
The city of skulls and bolita balls.
I found everyone was buried,
Only their heads stuck out of cement graves,
So they stuck out their tongues
To rub across lipstick smeared on a beer bottle
Shaped to resemble Helen of Troy’s adolescent lips.
It was a city of warped billiard balls
And homebrew in the back room behind swinging doors
With over-peppered chili sold up front.
It was the city of the short half-pint
And hair tonic with fifty percent alcohol.
The voting booths were surrounded
By barbed wire and sawed-off shotguns.


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