"The Ex-Wife," "The Real Barfly," and "The Price"

The Ex-Wife

When he was released
from maximum security
prison in Scotland for bad
health at 61 after only a
year of a 6 year drug
sentence she flew him
home first class to Sydney.
Paying for a room and
several stays at the best
rehab, that only made his
appetite stronger. A year
later she couldn't take it
anymore, cutting ties with
him a second time. The
funeral happened shortly
after. She wept by the coffin
the whole time. Whispering
sorry again and again, until
no one but her was left to
hear it.



The Real Barfly                                                                   

He loved the film
about the writer that
didn't write anymore,
just drank to excess
every day. He had
given up writing for
the bottle as well.
Every morning at
work he'd smell
like peppermint
mouthwash and
whiskey. After
a while people
started to notice
and he turned to
gin instead. He
got thinner and
thinner and more
unreliable at work.
Was always irritated
and carried a flask
in his back pocket
at all times to keep
him going. A few
months before he
died, I asked him
why he didn't just
quit? "I can't quit.
I am a writer!" he
said. "O.K," I said,
remembering how
bad his poems were.
Writing this one
shortly after, his best
and final words.



The Price

I threw out
the old
fan today.
I have had
it for over
20 years.
bought it
for $15:
a big purchase
Living in a
room in the
district with
milk crates
for furniture,
a pillow on
the floor
for a bed.
A room not
much bigger
than a prison
cell: though
the furthest
I could get
from one at
the time.
The fan never
worked so
well; especially
on the hottest
days, but I
knew the
and would prefer
the heat. Doing
its best to
keep me cool
all those years.
And sometimes
words. Sometimes
none. Yet always
the need, desire,
passion for
more than the
tombstones those
around me
called lives.
Throwing the
fan away today
after 20 years.
Hoping it is all
that’s gone.



Brenton Booth

Brenton Booth lives in Sydney, Australia. Poetry of his has appeared, or is forthcoming in Gargoyle, New York Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, Chiron Review, Main Street Rag, Naugatuck River Review, Heavy Feather Review, and Nerve Cowboy. He has two full length collections available from Epic Rites Press. 


Edited for Unlikely by Jonathan Penton, Editor-in-Chief
Last revised on Friday, November 24, 2023 - 20:34