I've Got a Thinking Problem

My name is Davis MacLeod Haines. I was born and raised in Alabama, I live in Chicago, I am in a band called whysowhite (whysowhite.com) and I believe in Love. This is my mind.

Posts tagged jonathan brown

May 30

Lawless Southern City

by Jonathan Brown

My heart is a lawless southern city

like Savannah or New Orleans

where you can drink on the street,

smoke where you want

but they only take cash

and even the cops are drunk. 

Lucky you. Lucky you, you tell the truth

because in this town, every time you tell a lie

a barefoot, redneck child nails a kitten to a telephone pole.

Don’t ask why. Just pony up the cash and thank the bloodline.    

He’s my little cousin Jimmy. His daddy was a carnie and his mama

was a Ferris wheel repair technician.

They fucked on a dare,

still do on occasion,

make mistakes.

Two years ago on this very same night

you and I sat on the concrete surrounding Colonial Lake.

We tossed the crusts of our PB and J sandwiches into the liquid sky.

While we ate, the moon rippled like a flag in the wind

on the surface of the night. Fish swallowed the bouncing stars.

If you’re hungry tonight, I know a pizza shop

about four blocks from here where they sell pie by the slice

and life by the drop.  I used to work there.  We could pretend

we own the place, drink free water and sit in the window seat,

watch people pump like good drugs

through the veins of these streets.

Even though it’s my heart

I wouldn’t walk the park alone at night.

The bus stop is no place to call home after dark.  

If you’re not done yet, we could get hopped up

on truck stop Viagra, go post up on a rooftop

and narrate the night air

that whips in and out of these alleys.

Say, when was the last time you walked into the wall

flower shop down on Poplar Avenue? 

That place is packed full of awkward blossoms.

Each looking down at his flimsy stem

and feeling too small to carry the weight

of such a heavy stamen.

That place, that wallflower shop

makes me want to break shit,

makes me want to take a brick

and make a splash

in a florist’s store front window,

pick up a shard of shattered glass

and carve the inscription Forgiveness is Free

on the side of the cash register

so the owner of the wallflower shop can know

that just because it sells doesn’t mean it should, 

being good is no substitute for being amazing, 

and people of this city would rather be wrong than timid.

I appreciate that moxie, that swagger,

that joyful noise, that riotous voice

that says don’t box me up

I am not an antique figurine.

I am not your grandmother’s love letters.   

I’m a sucker punch.

I’m a firecracker in the hallway of a middle school.

I’m a pair of brass knuckles in a back pocket begging to bruise bone.   

I’m a long shot.

I’m a sloppy blowjob in the bathroom backstage before the show.

I’m a damn good time.

I’m a grown ass man who won’t act his age.

I’m a warning sign.

I’m a loan shark named karma and I gonna get paid.

I’m a promise made on false premises.

You can bet your bottom dollar

this heart is gonna break.