The Poet Spiel

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Dubious Battle

They want a piece of me. They wanna give me something for my crimes of desire shot into a sterile cup. Give me something I need — maybe one more month
with a roof over my head? A grocery cart teeming with sweets and ready-to-eat meats might be nice.

They swear they’ll protect my identity. I already know they will not protect
my identity. They will multiply and replenish it. All they covet is nothing more
than my wet shoot in an isolated closet where I get comfy among my selves — they’ll give me something of value for nothing more than a piece of me.

They already know I like to touch myself. They will make it hard for me,
ask too many questions. Intrude. Confine me in private where they give me magazines — the kind I like. Then do new bloods and review my sworn stats.
But I already know they will stall their paltry recompense till I’m so hungry
I’ve forgot why I used to like to touch myself. They don’t know what I already know about what they don’t know about me.

Of course they covet something of value: my elevated IQ, my distinctive green eyes, my father’s heroic nose. A piece of my handsome me. They will not care how sneaky I’ll feel each time I discover my self crawling the mall on chubby button-toe legs of green-eyed toddlers. How I relish it but wonder if time
has come to quit my scheme. They don’t give a shit how I feel.
And they don’t need to know I do shoots cuz it’s a quick cheap trick for me.

When that same swarthy hunk in a lavender lab coat doles out germ-free cups,
he always smells like Clorox. Claims they use mysterious encryptions
to guarantee privacy. He doesn’t mention they cannot protect my identity
every time I identify scads of my mini-me on infant legs at the mall. My face bobbling on toddler bodies everywhere. Distinctive green eyes, the flare
of my father’s nose. My once-a-week shoots are fundamental to their cause
at the Choose Your Child lab — never mind what I’m up to.

What they’ll never know is that I’d flipped my identity long before I signed
on their dotted line for the first time about three years ago. I’m not really
Roger K., I’m Tavish M. and I studied countless Google searches —
“How to Disappear.” Covered my tracks: my dubious mental history of many me’s, how jumbled I felt inside of fresh flesh when I stumbled on tiny legs;
that I already knew something crooked was in my blood, that madness was present in all of those cups of my once-a-week wanton crimes of desire.


These two sweatsopped hitchers cram their nearly bursting backpacks into the cramped bed-cove
behind the driver’s seat of the kindly old trucker’s cab, knocking over a dozen or so foam coffee cups oozing loaded with tobacco spit and onto a hodgepodge of grimy overalls, greasy wrenches, wet pretzels,
stiff rope coiled around a sack of drippy mustard packets and thoroughly smashed roadkill they would not care enough to identify — not even if they knew how to do it.
A sat-on Dodger’s cap stabbed with a pheasant feather perches proud next to the groaning gearbox atop a dog-eared stack of Chainsaw Chix magazines.
Doan you boys be touchin ma setzy pitcherbooks the cherry-cheeked trucker warns. It’s them
an cheese donuts what gits me from San Berdoo ta Tulsa an back to San Berdoo. He claims he knows a bed and bath for the three of them in an off-the-track dime-a-night motel up the road about a hundred miles and soon as he’s washed up he’ll hit the road so the boys can own the room for the night Un you twos kin gitcha some wet pussy.
The boys are thinking just to get out of this stinking cab would be as good as a bath but Yeah Dude OK that’s cool and anyway they sure are grateful to get the fuck off that roaring road where gangs of flag-waving rednecks have been flipping them off for the past two days because they’ve got hippie hair. They doze off with their heads miserably bobbing against their chests as the jolly trucker babbles on about each of his ex-old ladies’ unthinkable behavior of fooling around with brother truckers while he is out Bringin home the bacon.

The motel’s thorns seem bigger than the buds on the rambling yellow roseshrubs that frame the ratty screendoor where a round pink woman with dead black hair and hideous half-halo red ochre pencil-line eyebrows bumbles forth from the struggling gush of the toilet set just two feet inside the front door. Her ivory-marbled-plastic 45 rpm record player blares Carlos Jobim’s The Girl from Ipanema as she steps up onto a wooden peach crate behind her tall turquoise counter, then slumps her shoulders and shuffles scattered random scraps bearing penciled phone numbers of local women.
The boys are having second thoughts about the room-bath-and-wet pussy deal so they keep an eagle eye on each other’s back like something really creepy is going to jump out to eat them and their packs while the proprietress remains numb to a fat housefly as it lands on her gape-pored nose where it buzzes its wings hapless then does a ritual fandango to the allure of Jobim and takes up residence in deep caverns of her oily flesh.
She mechanically flips the trucker the key to his usual shack #8 at the far back of the barren lot. The trucker drops a rumpled tenbuck on the front edge of the counter – like he would not think of touching her. He says nothing.
She spreads out two bucks in small coins including a Canadian nickel, three black dimes and a bent penny. As the record ends and the needle arm bangs back and forth, the fly slow-dances down her pouty lower lip and the boys scramble to get their sorry
asses out of there, she hollers at their backs: No pissin in the sink.


There has been no influence under the politics of NEA and not a hint of the heavy hand of an MFA in the art and writing of personal conflict and social consciousness by The Poet Spiel aka Tom Taylor aka Thoss W Taylor. Frequently focused on the confinement of being human, this diverse artist/writer creates visual and verbal imagery which has been exhibited in more than 200 solo and group exhibitions, coast to coast and in Africa. His work has been licensed and published internationally. His most recent book is REVEALING SELF in Pictures and Words, available on Amazon.