Clayton, NM

By Scott Laudati

i saw the vfw in downtown clayton
and watched the past lay naked
around an unplugged jukebox
while the first drop of rain in six years
hit the window
just before happy hour.
sad spit from
the big blue monster.
always above,
holding nothing of god,
never smiling at the peasants down below
kneeling on roads
they’d run cattle down
when dew grew the crop
and the rivers rushed with gold.
luckily i found a 50 cent postcard at goodwill
so i could write home and tell my mom
that i’d seen the end now –
the scalped heads impaled
on the picket fences,
the weatherproof eviction tags,
and the bagpipes they hadn’t even blown
because there was no one left
to hear them.
the greyhounds all drove on to trinidad
and the prairie dogs
looked to the buzzards
and begged them,
just make it quick.”

Scott Laudati was born in Staten Island and raised in Hazlet, New Jersey. He is the author of books:
Bone House, Camp Winapooka, The Ever Present Collapse, and Play The Devil. He has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize three times and won several awards for his fiction and poetry, including: The 2018 “Riggs Gold Medal Essay Award,” “The Stark Award In Fiction In Honor Of Henry R. Roth,” and the 2018 “The Jack Grapes Poetry Prize.” His work has been published by Columbia University, CUNY, The Bitter Oleander, The Rockford Review, and many others. Scott currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.

His latest poetry collection, Hawaiian Shirts in the Electric Chair REDUX is available now from Cephalopress. Check it out here.

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