He Too Once Had A Mother.

by Charles S. Kraszewski.

Billy the Waistband slouches low
along the wall in Lummus Park,
his sparse hair bristling at his brow.
But no one there along the walk
that leads past the shower
at this sun-filled hour
(three o’clock)
notes anything amiss
(like his torn shorts, or the stains of piss
that terror’s
made there) or
El Cucarro, staring him down, death in his eye.

Then suddenly, a little girl
drops pail and shovel from her hand,
and points — ¡Mami, mirà! — a squirrel,
or something, darts across the sand,
straight at Billy, speeding
right up; Billy (bleeding
from’s nose) hurls
a bottle of water
at El Cucarro, off guard, who falters
in attack,
“Look out!” Crack!
Billy’s head’s split open by the other guy,

(La Cuchilla’s the name by which
he’s known — the squirrel — El Cucarro’s bitch,
for whom and in whom he exists,
for whose love he’d slit his own wrists
or any mojaneta’s throat —
and don’t think El Cucarro don’t know it)…

Billy is writhing in a scrum on the sand bleeding from nose and the gash above his eyebrow La Cuchilla has him by one hand when Billy heels him hard in the nuts while El Cucarro jumps the wall and it’s a free for all or rather “Two on one! No fair!” screeches a wrinkled tart with stringy hair while Billy bites El Cucarro hard on his brown foot and spits he bit him right below his big toe where there’s a colony of plantar warts it hurts all the same and El Cucarro is hopping along the sand cursing in Caribeño and looking in vain toward his flog green with pain crimped double holding in his hands his purple sack before they can renew the attack Billy is up and slumps across the wall “Run to the cops, dude!” a tall blond tourist points toward the beach as El Cucarro begins to hobble after the retreating Billy beating his crazy, blood-dribbling way among cocoa palms and sea grapes toward Ocean Drive battered, but still alive

The blond kid shrugs and turns away;
the little girl with eyes wide stares,
Her mama clucks ¡Peor que los perros!
“That’s nothing very nice to say,”
quips a wag walking a pit bull,
“Dogs are quite civil, as a rule…”

Billy the Waistband stumbles near
a pile
of rags — turns out to be
Bennie Shaver napping near a tree,
“Fuck man, you smell! Get out of here!”
Then, thwack!
a cocoa husk slams in his back
(El Cucarro’s up and gaining);
Billy collects his remaining
strength and, rejected by those
he took to be his friends,
escapes cross the street; a Lamborghini slows
indifferently, to let him pass
to another world, of other men
who care even less.

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