The Walrus

How I Became Exquisite

by Stuart Ross
Poetry · From the July 2006 magazine
Share
There in my favourite bar, Legends,
whose walls were plastered
with photos of Theodor Herzl
and that girl who sang
“You Light Up My Life,”
plus also an unshaven Fred Flintstone
shaking hands with Pierre Trudeau
and smirking into the camera,
I was about to order (as usual)
the chicken curry with basmati rice
and a big glass of milk when
I noticed Misery
hanging by the jukebox.
A draft nearly knocked me over
as Thelma the waitress came in from her smoke,
and I pulled my coat tighter,
and she pulled hers looser,
and I ended up at the jukebox.
“Would you like a little company” I said,
and just as he parted his lips to answer,
I let Misery have one
right in the stomach. (Not
the actual organ itself,
but the place on his body
where the stomach is under.)
He folded over and fell
to the peanut-shell-strewn floor, and I,
having punched out Misery,
relieved myself of my mortal clothes
and draped me in a robe of magenta.
I assumed a new way of walking
that signalled my importance,
I mean, I got really robust,
and glided through the streets,
my head on an ivory-encrusted tray
approaching stray orphans
and offering them some.
Stuart Ross is a writer, publisher, and writing teacher living in Toronto. His recent books are Confessions of a Small Press Racketeer; Hey, Crumbling Balcony!: Poems New & Selected; and Robots at Night. Ross is the editor of the poetry magazine Syd & Shi