Jack Henry

the square 

a gaggle of kids squawk and chirp into the night air, 

smoke weed and wave at cops shyly passing by. 

 

tired and bored i sit down with them. 

a pretty girl, with long legs and spider tattoos, 

sits next to me, puts her hand on my shoulder, 

 

says, wanna get high? 

i say, i’m always high. 

she says, cool man. i’m Tammy. 

i say, wanna get warm 

 

she smiles, nods, says, ya cool 

and lets me take her hand. 

 

we walk across the street and up the stairs to the Hotel Arcata. 

strip naked, crawl into bed, and blissfully fall asleep. 

 

dinner out 

my kid and i sit 

in a beer hall 

wait on a waitress 

to take an order. 

 

kid uses the men’s room 

that’s a new experience 

transitioning 

i have to check it first 

to make sure it’s safe 

cuz shit happens in Arcata 

if you don’t how to act 

or where to go after dark. 

 

i tip the waitress big 

with money i borrowed 

from a dead-end 401k 

and she sneaks us 

into a live streaming 

of a local band. 

 

my kid knows the bass player, 

which makes sense. 

my kid seems to 

know everyone in Arcata. 

 

we get the boot 

after hanging around too long 

and walk outside, 

back into the cold night air 

where our breath lingers 

long into the night 

 

and Tammy walks up 

saying, hey baby it’s awful 

cold. 

 

 

eating a sandwich in a bar at a distance 

i wander into a dimly lit bar 

order a double diet and bourbon 

Ian places a tumbler in front of me 

10 bucks 

 

okay 

want something to eat? 

 

i order a roast beef sandwich 

and a side of tatter-tots 

 

Ian clears a spot 

on the other side of the bar 

sprays it down with 

disinfectant 

says, here you go 

 

Krystal Something 

brings a plate, sets it 

in front of me 

asks where i am from 

i say the Hotel Arcata 

she asks if i’m passing 

through 

 

i don’t know, i say 

i just don’t 

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