This bearded Beat peered at me
dubiously through the Prohibition
basement speakeasy peephole.
I slid my bona fides through.

I wore my funky duck flapped
knit cap with strings I bought
to hide my full head of hair.
Ditched my crimson class tie in the Lex.

He kept looking me down, then up.
Puffy eyes flicking back and forth.
“This ain’t gonna fly.” I thought.
Like that instant in an arm wrestle
when you know you are bound to lose.

Then he caught the smoke in my hand.
Maybe my cherry deflected off his bald dome.

“Hell, c’mon in kid. One or two of your kind
won’t kill us, I guess. Dying breed anyhow.
Can’t stomach the bourbon or
silver spoon reflections anymore.
All smoke and mirrors, baby.
Mostly smoke.”


* * *


Phillip Larrea is the author of We the People (Cold River Press) and Our Patch (Writing Knights Press). Since 2012, his poems have appeared in over 60 journals, anthologies and magazines in the U.S., Ireland, Canada and Asia. He is the winner of the 2013 New Frontier Prize for poetry, and has been nominated twice for the 2014 Pushcart Prize.

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