—a poem by Wayne Burke

Whenever I drank Ballantine Ale
I got mean, or
maybe I was already mean;
I don't know;
I don't think so;
one day
not long ago
after emptying several
of the green bottles
I got it into my head
that this big guy
who had an ugly face
I'd seen around town
had somehow
done me wrong
and I saw the guy
on the opposite side of the street
from me
and I screamed
like I was talking to a dog
and the guy stared
and I stared
and I started across the street
and he ran
as I chased him
to a house
he went inside of
and I followed
up a staircase
to a doorway
the guy stood in
holding an axe
and I backed
down the stairs
and left
just as cops arrived
in their shiny car
that I got a free ride in.


Wayne Burke's work has appeared in FORGE, miller's pond, and Northeast Corridor. He was poet-of-the-month in Bareback, 7-13.o His book of poems, WORDS THAT BURN, is available through Bareback Press, also on Amazon.