‘Call Them’ – a poem / excerpt from ‘A Gallant, Glorious, Screaming End.’ – Brandon Straun

‘Call Them’

If other than death, how about a forty?

The ether smells from my pores as I take stock of the night.

Drawn postcards burn as I sweat, small scales are tipped on point.

My daily deconstruction of tooth enamel yields currency already owed in the flow of civility and power. The heat never works in this apartment.

I have to like it, it is my debtors’ job. A daily system of impulse, driven by pharmaceutical dreams, dry spells and top ramen.

Burners ring of the hook as the avenue gets spicy. Pre-paid dreams die in an instant.

Around the block, I know this part-time tenant in a roach motel. His gig pays like a hot reality show.

Check cashing after midnight is a move for payphone users and maniacs.

Good things can be found, but they dwindle rapidly behind the price.

The Feds locked down the block last month, and woke me up in SWAT gear and rifles in my face.

I shaved my head and burnt incense to drive my innements away

Nobody would sell me a gun.

As you know, Styrofoam melts if you put it on a hot burner. I dropped the cup o’ noodles before it steeped so it wouldn’t catch fire. Beef jerky and pound cake washes down nicely with malt liquor, just don’t wile out and steal an umbrella again.

A lunatic threatens two yuppies in the donut shop with an imaginary Glock 9.


The grind ramps up and a doorman dials nine-one-one.

The cop shouts “Get back upstairs right now, I can smell the liquor on your breath.”

Any hunger artist would die up in this piece.

“What are you gonna do, just go to bed without any dinner?”, he shouted from across the street.

Get your hustle on. Sell trees and break even. Scrape the pipe.

Tape up the night, it won’t fall apart until tomorrow some time.

I cling to memories since the future makes me sick. She doesn’t want to hear from me these days, and sometimes the feeling is mutual.

It gets dark here early, each day when the sketch begins again.

Over here, Mothers hustle and men arm themselves. It is a lifestyle-necessity.

Mockery is free and pride is sacred.

Many medicines are delivered daily, yet nothing ever quite cures this sickness.

An excerpt from ‘A Gallant, Glorious, Screaming End.’ – a novel by Brandon Straun

© 2009, 2021 Brandon Straun

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