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Want to See a Real Man?

Posted by arley sanchez on August 12, 2011 at 6:20 PM Comments comments (1)

I read today how a man barricaded himself

in a trailer with his girlfriend,

and before he blew her away and himself too,

he yelled to the cops: “You want to see a real man?”

You don't like Joey's, the booths are duct-taped.

You like Capo's, cozy and romantic.

But I like Joey's jukebox,

two plays for a quarter and no CDs,

just oldies with scratches grooving with memories.

Two quarters slide in but a couple behind us arc

like crossed wires, high tension connection

says he can't wait to take her home

to mess her up but good.

Your eyes cloud when I turn in my seat and say,

“Must make you feel like a real man.”
His eyes blaze and smolder like embers

under the rim of his dirty black cowboy hat

perched on his head like a crow.

Her eyes are disconnected, like a broken TV.

“You want to see a real man?” he says, his tongue

burrows like a snake into his mouth.

A real man steps into the darkness to the blast

of a passing train, the bright sound arouses snakes

squirming in my belly.

“He's a psycho, pendejo,” Joey says, “You better go, pronto.”

Vamos,” but it's too late. The psycho's back.

The long cool barrel of a .45 is cold and heavy

and twists on my temple, like the devil's finger.

My heart clangs like the church bell

and from the jukebox, Elvis sings “Are You Lonesome Tonight?”

Eyes lock and load and his breath is short and ragged,

like a dog hit by a car.

“You want to see a real man, cabron?”

We breathe our distrust and dark fear,

the air clouding of hate between us.

She begs him please, don't, and time crawls

on my skin like a spider.

He pulls the hammer down

and a real man slides back into his holster.

Real man drags her outside into Joey's parking lot,

and her screams crash back in through an open window,

but before I can stand, you push me back down again,

amazed I'd repeat “Must make you feel like a real man.”

I walk to the jukebox

and fumble for a quarter

to drown out her sound.

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