Saturday, July 23, 2022

Exchange Poem

alone at the exchange,

the guy next to me exclaims

“i’m drunk!” and clenches his fist


i bump it thinking he’ll turn away and

leave me be, but i’m wrong, so very wrong


he attempts conversation,

asking prying questions

into what i do for a living,

if i enjoy the work 


i answer nothing and

turn the questions 

around on him


he grabs his cigarettes and keys,

slamming them into the bar

before handing the bartender 

a credit card that is declined five times 


“just pay up tomorrow” the bartender says


the drunk says nothing and stumbles away 


a guy across the bar shouts

“i hope he’s not driving!”


i order another round 

and think about

drying lakes

out west.

Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, zines, and online publications. He has published 18 chapbooks and 2 collections of poetry. His forthcoming collection “The Ants Crawl In Circles” will be published by Whiskey City Press in Summer 2022. He runs Between Shadows Press.

Instagram: @flexyourhead