“Honky-Tonk Nights” by Robert Cooperman

Scottie always drank longnecks:

easy to smash a guy hassling him

or making a move on his woman,

who wasn’t necessarily his wife,

though Loretta didn’t have to know that,

except she always did, when he staggered in

skanky with beer and perfume fumes.


Too much effort to throw him out

or leave him: to go where, she’d no idea,

parents gone, no sisters to pour

the acid in her heart out to; no brothers

to beat the cheating crap out of Scottie.


Nights he rooty-tooted in one honky-tonk,

she’d be in another, making Mr. Lucky take her

to a motel with clean sheets and a shower

that didn’t need a two-day grouting,

while she wondered if the guy knew Scottie,

or if Scottie was with this jerk’s woman.


Finally, Scottie did bust another guy

over the head; the guy’s buddies dragging

Scottie into the alley out back.


The sheriff showed up on Loretta’s porch,

turning his Stetson as if reblocking the brim,

holding Loretta up, setting her down

on the swing, as if catching

a framed photo falling from the mantel,

when he stumbled out the news.

Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is Draft Board Blues (FutureCycle Press).  Forthcoming from Aldrich Press are Their Wars; from Liquid Light Press, Saved By The Dead; and from Main Street Rag, That Summer.  Cooperman’s work has appeared in Slant, California Quarterly, and Concho River Review.  He lives in Denver with his wife Beth.

Image courtesy of Pixabay, altered by Cartoonize.

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