Vic Swan


Vic Swan

Larry stumbled headfirst into broken
glass, and then in a stroke of drunken brilliance, spray
painted his head with black enamel to stop the

It took two hours to clean him up, take the glass
slivers out of his head with tweezers and sew the skin
together with a needle and thread from a motel room
sewing kit.

We took Larry to an empty warehouse down the
block and threw a blanket on the floor and told him to
stay there till morning, which, of course, he didn't. He
pulled the stitches out with a pair of pliers and walked
to the "Office Lounge", blood, clotting on his scalp.

They threw him out before he even sat down and
called cops, but when they arrived, they couldn't
find him. Larry had passed out in the back seat of a
Lincoln Continentl in the K-Mart parking lot across
the street from the bar.

She didn't know he was there until she turned off
Killearny Way and into her drive. He vomited. She
started to call the police, but instead she took him
inside. In the spacious bathroom she stripped him, and
bathed him, and touched him lightly with her
ex-husband's cologne. She put him in her bed, curled
up next to his lifeless body, and licked his wounds.


Vic Swan

the receptionist said
that there was someone
in the lobby to see me
he was a short man with gray braids
a Seminole

i had never seen him before
i would have remembered
but he said that i had helped him
in the past
and he wanted to invite me
to a gathering in South Georgia
on Saturday

Saturday was my birthday
and i had no plans

Cherokee, Apalachee, Miccosukee,
they were all there...
there was fried bread and fresh game
more than enough
we shot black powder rifles
at plates on fence posts ...

chanted, and danced in reverent circles
around the campfire
sparks rushed into the cold December night
meeting the stars
to the beating of drums

it was my birthday
the only one i remember...
and my clothes still smell
of black powder and smoke
and the drums still beat
in my head at night.