Sex in Little Rock


My choice early in life was either to be a piano-player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth there’s hardly any difference. – Harry S. Truman


I went to Arkansas
where the rednecks gather
like recombinant DNA
and I was all but exhausted
on account of southern fried food and hypocrisy.

I gave some speeches and then got on a plane
came home to New York
with its beautiful exhaustion
and severed heads in cooler boxes beside the parkway.

The South is a tract of endless scrubland
full of shopping malls and convention centers
rising on the landscape
with each of those cold places
surrounded by singleroom whorehouses
and go-go clubs catering to businessmen
who slink out from their hotel rooms
under the cover of night.

These raw parlors paint their busty names
across each sloping roof
the better to catch the roving eyes
of boys in two-vent suits sat lonely in their rooms.

They do business like it’s the last few minutes.

1994




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