Otis arrives at noon. Twisting out of his parked car like an arthritic, unoiled Michelin Man, he stands & burps internal bubbles sideways from the corners of his bearded mouth. Lake Erie's bright, obnoxious sunlight burns like a tent of fire pinched by Jesus at the top of the summer sky. Otis' smile remains distant & stoned. He still hears Bob Dylan songs, perfect road-trip music up I-79, wailing all around him, altho the car stereo is off. Otis doesn't realize he's humming “Tangled Up In Blue.”
Otis pops the trunk. We carry 3 cases of bottled Rolling Rock beer to my 2nd-floor apartment. He sets a fat bag of weed, an elk-horn pipe, a small metal pipe, & a lighter with a Pittsburgh Pirates emblem on the kitchen table. We're reading our poems at the Erie Art Annex at 8. By then, there's no way we'll be sober.
But Otis speaks like a new waking man. “I think you need a Rolling Rock, the best piss Pittsburgh has to offer,” Otis grins. He presents me with an uncapped foamy bottle. Otis quickly loads the fridge with the green bottles, little wet clanging glass logs.
She Wears an Orange Cashmere Sweater
“Up here, my face?” Sharon grins. Mike's gaze slowly rises. She grins harder, as if something hurts, for emphasis. Mike's blood-drenched eyes float back down to stare at her breasts. Sharon's pillowy tits do pulse like beautiful, orange, meat buoys on the moon-pulled ocean of orgasmic eternity. Mike & Sharon sit on a small shared couch after I, always a gentleman, rise to let Sharon sit down. I introduce them, underground poet to underground poet. The house is packed with loud partying poets.
It's Saturday night in Dearborn, Michigan. Sharon, along with her best friend Cindy, is late to the party. Microphones & wires fill the living room like more intoxicated poets. Otis presses, full-body, into Cindy against a wall. She doesn't mind. Otis can't form words anymore. He's been crushing beers continuously since we arrived on Friday morning. Otis huffs into Cindy's onyx-black hair, growling with lust, moving his head side to side. Cindy welcomes the attention. They chuckle like kids as Otis sways to dig into his pockets for a pipe & the pot.
I look across the room at Sharon again. Glaring, she sticks some of her tongue out at me. Mike's a stubborn helpless foolish fucking mess. He's puked into his lap. He smiles like Stevie Wonder at Sharon's breasts heaving beneath her orange cashmere sweater.
Sleeping on Otis' Floor
“Goodnight, asshole,” John says. I see the meaty ghost of his shadow collapse below street-lit window blinds. I hear him thud. He groans like a dying moose across the black room.
“Goodnight, John-Boy,” I sing, smiling, as goofy as a melodic little girl on the prairie. We're plastered in Pittsburgh with Otis, again.
Otis isn't finished drinking in his cellar bar. He cracks the capped head off another doomed beer bottle & gulps the suds with professional endless thirst.
John, on the other hand, snores relentlessly on the floor of Otis' spare room upstairs; a cornered, stabbed, lung-leaking, amplified, pulsating frog. I'm spinning like dreams in a syrupy swamp.
Ron Androla is the author of Factory Fables (2016), After Satan (2015), Confluence (2015), and many other books.