King of the World

Here is a poem from my upcoming book, “Lullabies and Legends.”

King of the World

It was late one Thursday night
Down at the Blue Light Lounge
When I walked in no one was there
But Ted, my asshole bartender
And some old biker
With a snow white beard and long gray hair
I sat down beside him and ordered up a beer
I said, “I’m Slammed-Out Sal
And I run this neighborhood
Just who the hell are you
And what are you doin’ in my bar
Drinkin’ my booze and breathin’ my air?”

He laughed and said, “Good to meet you Sal.
I’m Knife-Nose Frank
And I’m king of the world”
Ted winked at me
I took a drink and smiled
Figured I’d have some fun with this toad
“You’re tellin’ me you run the whole damn world?” I asked
“Hell yea” he said, “everyplace, everywhere”
I said “I bet you’re old, maybe two-hundred or more”
Three-hundred five, and a few weeks” he grinned

I took a sip of coor’s and said
“You don’t run it very good.
Everyone’s always fighting”
He said, “You know, I like everyone
But you gotta run things with an easy hand
And people are like kids, spoiled and scrappy
They’re gonna do what they’re gonna do
And they’re gonna play rough
A time or two
Gonna get a bloody nose every once in awhile
What can you do?”

“How come there’s so many countries?” I asked
Seems like it’d be better
If we was all had one government
“I like variety. Variety is good” he smiled
“What about all these different religions?” I asked
“People are gonna think what they want to think
There’s something for everyone
Freedom of religion is good,” he smiled
So what’s the hardest part
Of running the whole damned world, Frank?”
“Keepin’ the proper mix
Of house cats and dog people” he said
“Just what ever do you mean, Frank?” I laughed
He took a drink and grinned back at me
“Well, house cat people are curious and playful
And lots of times they get into trouble
But you gotta have them
Or no books would be written
Paintings wouldn’t get painted
Nothing would get invented
And songs would ‘t be sung
House cat people are a little chaotic
But they do a lot of good things too

Now, dog people don’t like change
And they don’t invent much of anything
But they follow their masters loyally
Keep life stable, work very hard
And help countries live a long, long time
But the house cats and the dogs
Don’t understand each other sometimes
Some days each one looks down on the other
Keepin’ the mix even
And keepin’ one from stomping the other one out
Is the hardest thing I usually do”

Knife-nose Frank stood up and stretched
Said “It’s been nice talkin’ to you Sal
But I’ve got to go
See about some riots in Uzbekistan”
I stood up too
I figured I’d follow him outside
And kick the shit out of him in the parking lot
Then Frank pulled a thousand dollar bill out of his wallet
And slapped it on the bar
He winked at Ted
“Keep the change,” he said

I looked at the money
And followed him outside
Just then a black helicopter flew overhead
And Frank swung his leg over a pure platinum V-4 chopper
When he fired it up, my heart stopped for a second
And I swear the sky moved
He nodded at me and slipped it into gear
I don’t remember him leaving
But as suddenly as he was there, he was gone
My eyes were wide when I walked back in the Blue Light Lounge
Ted must have noticed the look on my face
“Do you want to keep this money for yourself?” he asked
I figured it’d be better to be safe than sorry
“No, you take it” I said,
“I think we’d better do what he wanted”

Dewey Dirks


2 comments on “King of the World

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