Guinotte Wise

Subway Drummer

Sticks blur tikkety chak on plastic
ten gallon bucket rims and on the
bottoms turned up as skins pop and
smack then he spins the sticks and
holds the light ends and a tom-tom
beat on one bucket accelerates and
bleeds into a hot rod motor popping
gearing down fast from highway
speed the sticks reverse and rimshots
attack and wrack the echoing tile
like clattering nails falling from a
construction site and air hammers
machine-gunning crescendos of a
hailstorm on a metal ship deck the
strikes are drag pipes harley-like
black cat firecrack flashbulb pops

emphatic silence

the drummer wipes his face with
t-shirt and those nearby transfixed
then released to search for coins
and bills to drop into his baseball
cap. He smiles, spins the sticks
snaps out shave-and-a-haircut-two
bits. They have to ask for more.



A Nod to the Hef

Hugh is gone, that silk bathrobe flutters
in the aurora borealis, see it on cold nights
solar particles collide with atmospheric
gases and satin bunny suits, oh those

nights at the Playboy Club in Kansas City
floppy-eared beauties brought us drinks
and pretty damned good jazz filtered in
from another room, and we were too

cool and sophisticated to smirk or make
a comment when a bunny would cork
screw down to our table, knees together
to slide our drinks from her tray and

smile her thanks at keep the change then
walk away, a little twitch from cotton
tail, then one of us would close his eyes
to the sax or to his private thoughts of

fishnet hose and patent leather pumps
abandoned on the hardwood floor of his
or her apartment. the same music issuing
from speakers above the bed and I think

back to 1953 when an older boy showed
me that first issue with Marilyn on red
satin sheets, wearing just her smile and
the afterimage is burned in like a tintype



Guinotte Wise writes and welds steel sculpture on a farm in Resume Speed, Kansas. His short story collection (Night Train, Cold Beer) won publication by a university press and enough money to fix the soffits. Three more books since. A Pushcart nominee, his fiction and poetry have been published in numerous literary journals including Atticus, The MacGuffin, Santa Fe Writers Project, Shotgun Honey and The American Journal of Poetry. His wife has an honest job in the city and drives 100 miles a day to keep it. Some work is at