“Carthage Burning” by J.C. Mari

Carthage Burning

As I walked past the motel
she jumped from
nowhere into my
field of vision

breath heavy with
Irish Rose and
looking like she had
been smoking
crack inside
a garbage bin
for hours

and she knew my name.
“Hey J.C.! can I
get a hug?”
and I gave it
quick and
and she
touched my
belly with
both hands and
I knew what was next so I said

“hey, how you doing,
take care of yourself”
and it was like
telling a man losing his
arm to gangrene
make sure and
keep it

I didn’t know
what the fuck to
say and
I had to
get out fast:

under all that
shit her curves
still barked
and all
she needed
to roar was
a shower , a
drink and
more dope,

All I
had to do
provide all
three and

As I
walked away
I couldn’t
remember her
name or
where I
knew her
from and I
still can’t

it doesn’t matter
’cause I
know her,


exigent circumstance

thought that
made Lot’s
wife turn

unforeseen causality

Carthage burnt.

(75 lines)

Justin’s Note: There’s something about the simplicity and truth behind J.C.’s poetry that leaves me besotted. He doesn’t try to perfume his pile of shit, instead, he throws it in your face and makes no apologies for ruining your ear-to-ear grin. There is, quite simply, no place to run.


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