Louie Knuckles

such a fate one must owe money

One must inflict harm, one must cheat, one must lie

Had I known the woman throwing herself at me was his sister


Louie might just have been made an uncle that night

The tequila formed the words as my mind reeled and the fly of

My zThe water slamming into my face felt like hammer blows

Over and over it met me

Had I had lungs the cold alone would have left me breathless

And the look of hatred on the face of Louie, and the knuckles that struck

Well, it took less than I thought before I began to wish

that he would leave my head within the barrel

I had always thought, assumed, imagined, inferred

That to meet ipper was pawed with tacky red nails

“Get the fuck off me! What is your fucking problem anyway?”

The hard cap of his knee met my face, and instinctively I grasped to keep from falling

I collapsed, pawing and gripping at the ample meat of his thighs

And his polished shoe met my forehead

Just before blacking out

Before the red and murky depth released from the pain of my beating

Before the coughing ended and the spasms ceased

I clearly recall Louie

Spit the words

“If I ever see you again motherfucker you’re dead!”

I still flinch at sudden movements

I lock my doors religiously, and wake in the night, check them and peer through my blinds

When I received the stamp upon my passport it sunk in

I am safely away, and so away is my family and friends

The bars are no longer a destination to me, nor the theaters, nor the office

One day,long after the cuts and bruises heal, one day

I hope to pass the day without fear


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