I was in the wrong clothes, too pressed,
wrong hair, too combed, too poufy,
ordering the wrong drink, vodka plus tonic,
not straight whiskey or draught beer,
doing the wrong thing, typing on my laptop
minding my own damn business
in a stab-wounded red booth.
I heard one of the young punks
hovering near the bar stage whisper
“fuckin laptop!” then his buddy
sotto voce, “fuckin faggot.”
The other young punks played pool
in a silence sometimes broken
by a lowdown wail, “fuckin wife.”
Answered by a nod and sympathy:
“Can’t be worse than my fuckin bitch.”
I was fresh from the plane. Wrong,
I thought I might seek liquid refreshment
while I waited for my friends, my hosts,
to get home from work, just a few doors
down from this nondescript pub.
One punk, emboldened by beer, skirted
my booth. I said, “How ya doing?”
The punk said nothing to me, just staring
with fury. When he got back to his buddy,
he unloaded his heavy grievance:
“fuckin faggot with his fuckin laptop.”
I was in Yonkers for a week
that October but that’s all
I ever remember.
A native of California’s Mendocino Coast, Lee Patton has enjoyed life in Colorado since college. His fiction and poetry have been widely published and his plays produced nationwide. Recent poems appear in Good Men Project, Winning Writers, Poetry Matters, On the Veranda, The New Verse News, Going Down Grand, Weatherings, and Poetry Quarterly. His third novel, My Aim Is True, is available at Dreamspinner Press.