Sulky, a chess master from the Texas
Gulf, bustled with talent. He celebrated
May Day by sailing and listening to Hoodoo
and Dada rock, loved to study sharks,
and expressed contempt for clarinet
players with weak lungs and double chins.
I believe he read too many true crime books:
he asked me to co-conspire against hikers
on a certain route through evergreens.
The trick to outwitting the cops,
or any opponent, he confided, is to think
twenty moves ahead and cover tracks.
That’s why they won’t decipher my plan,
converge upon me, and straddle my chest.
I realized Sulky, in his bleached hair,
thought himself a genius with flair,
smarter than everyone. I chose not to partner
with him, for he only read of blades
into sternums, tarpaulins under bodies,
ashes from crematoriums. Sulky adored
number one too much to lift his veil of delusion:
he practiced chess fourteen hours a day,
created scenarios with dwindling possibilities
for foes, and sang about bats and toasters,
crouching over the board, the championship
at stake, no time for Dada, Hoodoo, or murder.
David Spicer has had poems in Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The Laughing Dog, In Between Hangovers, The American Poetry Review, Easy Street, Ploughshares, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Yellow Mama, Dead Snakes, and in A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Pushcart, a Best of the Net, is the author of one full-length collection of poems and four chapbooks, and is the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.