STANDOFF

Robert Focht

Heads up, small fry. Peck on the cheek, knockout

punch in your back pocket. She got jukebox,

junk bonds, choke hold hid up her sleeve. A pox

upon her house collars tainted flameout.

Don’t lift a lid or bat a lash. Get out

of your way. Take it neat, not on the rocks.

When you met she sported red dreadlocks

and lip-synched ska, her hymn no less devout

than blink or shifted gaze gift-wrapped inside

out. Mad dash grazes skin slurred with scent: rat

musk. Lapsed monks reek of brine. Shorn dead of night,

this too bright world blinds. Dare tyrannicide

in primetime. Caress three feral cats

as you befriend the shark. Regain your sight.

Robert Focht is a graduate of New Jersey City University and has studied with Maureen O'Brien, Patricia Carlin, Dennis Nurkse, Rachel Wetzsteon, Terese Svoboda, and Brenda Shaughnessy. His love affair with poetry began in grade school and crystallized when, at sixteen, his aunt gifted him with his recently deceased uncle’s copy of Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Protracted immersion in surrealism, dada, and oulipo followed. A self-described neo-transcendentalist, he lives a predominantly solitary life with his two rescue dogs in the ghost town of West Hoboken, New Jersey and divides his time between writing implausible autobiographies and editing cookbooks on ethnic cuisine.