January 2001 / Volume Two / Issue One
David Bates

I was shaking hands with
boredom— making a pact—

in return for the television, AOL,
and Billboard’s Top 10 tunes
we’d hang out sometimes maybe
watch a flick or surf the web

— quality time—

in return for a couple of drinks
a couple of nights a week I’d
let it fondle me now and again—

and I’d let myself believe it
when it says every thing’ll be
         alllll       right—

I was shaking hands with boredom
when the room attacked
            leapt down upon me from all sides
            and sank its fingers in my neck

and the cigarettes burned down in their ashtrays
and the guitars leaned casually against the wall
                      letting gravity pull ‘em slowly out of tune
and time puffed another handful of bone dust over every thing
and the clock kept on exhausting it’s batteries one second at a time
                      its minutes lounging in the silence of a
                      60 watt bulb ready to go

Yeah I was
shaking hands with boredom
complementing its grip
           -as it tightened suddenly like a car door—
                   shouting out over the snap-crack sound
                                        inside the meat

and when I stood to fight again
I could not make a fist and

boredom smiled and pulled me close and slid a tape in the VCR.
Return to January 2001