"Niobium," "Nickel," and "Neodymium"


Who foretells weeping on a second date?
I’d certainly not come to make you cry.
Yet why’d you arrive after cocktail eight
when we met for drinks? I’m a sober guy.
I expected coffee. You came pickled
as the onion garnishing your Gibson
glass. Your rank breath left me far from tickled.
As to those cockeyed come-ons, I raised one
hand for the bill then pleaded for fresh air.
Outdoors, events swung from bad to worse:
that kiss like a hatchet, the groped despair,
and your mournful entreaty was the curse
I couldn’t refract. Then I broke your fall
as you sobbed like Niobe.
                                          Please don’t call.




Ever nightmare through a night out, ever
lose some major coin, ever slot machine
past Mr. Right (or Mr. Whomever)
before cuddling up to Mr. Mean?
Ever swoon for a dime-thin Italian
who pulls your hair with a manicured grip
while his devilishly bland companion
feeds you a line moments before he slips
roofies into your drink. At dawn, you’ll wake
half-dressed on a battered couch, nipples bared,
your lips crusted shut, and your thirst unslaked.
Half-opened eyes espy the underweared
sidekick holding a nickel-plated gun
as if on the run. What for? Not fun.




We hung out at Dick’s when Dick’s was a thing.
(Poor Dick’s went the way of the signet ring.)
There’s a dirty mirror over this bar
where the stools are chrome with cracked, red leather.
Heh, we didn’t come here for niceties. Far
from it. We came to cruise one another,
to make googly eyes, maybe magnetize,
to slake hard drives atop twin-sized covers.
Once the body meant everything: thighs
had meaning, hands had meaning. Why expect
a common tongue? In a hush, we realized
it was okay if our faces were wrecks –
bloated from booze and collapsed in decay  – 
we were model engines below the neck.



Drew Pisarra

A featured poet in A Gathering of the Tribes' weekend reading marathon at The Whitney Biennial 2022: Quiet As It's Kept, Drew Pisarra is the author of Infinity Standing Up (2019), a collection of sonnets c/o Capturing Fire Press, You're Pretty Gay (2021), a short story collection c/o Chaffinch Press, and The Strange Case of Nick M. (2021), a radio play commissioned by Imago Theatre and first broadcast on K-BOO FM. Additionally, he is a literary grantee of both the Cafe Royal Cultural Foundation and Curious Elixirs: Curious Creators.


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Sunday, August 7, 2022 - 22:04