May 2004 / Volume Five / Issue Two
Ralph Baker III
November 21, 2003; 3:00am

He said he publishes
a poetry magazine.
He heard I had
a reputation.
He asked if I had anything
to contribute.
I raised my palms in surrender.
"I have nothing" I replied.
I. Don't. Write. Poetry.
Maybe my eyes
said something different,
because
with both hands
he shoved me
against the wall.
"What've you got?" he repeated.
"I have nothing," I replied
with the voice of a kicked dog.
"I don't even know
good poetry from bad."
He considered this,
and then
punched me in the gut.
Hands on my shoulders
Eyes locked
Breath in my face
>One last time<
"What have you got?"
I screamed
Fuck off!
and punched him in the face.
"Now this" he said,
rubbing his jaw,
"This we can work with."