the week before i moved in with the 50 year old buskers

i was squatting in a house on frenchmen

the owner of the house gave me his blessing

he was a friend of a guy i met at the st. roch tavern

the house was stripped, no utilities, and had a mold problem

the owner said if i so felt the urge, i could clean up a little bit

you know, earn my keep

i thought, are you fucking kidding me, but what i said was cool, thanks

and i went to walgreen’s to buy some surgical masks

i only went to the house to sleep

and every night, i put on a mask

wearing it made me feel like i was doing something right

while what i was actually doing was fucking up hardcore

the week before that i met two overweight swingers

who’d have given me a room in exchange for sex

their son knew about their lifestyle and was cool with it

he was twelve

the woman mentioned that her son, in particular,

was cool with her labia leash

and i was like, you involve your twelve-year-old son in your sex life?

and the man was like, it is healthy to do so

and i thought, this is an abusive relationship i don’t need

but what i said was, cool, thanks for the offer, and ghosted

but the guy i met at the st. roch tavern was named lucius

his partner andrea was behind the bar

i spent about eight hours there the first time i walked in

i talked to lucius about my lodging situation

and he said he would talk to his friend dan, who might be able to help me out

some guy named gary kept falling off his stool

it was carnival season already, but i didn’t fully realize it

until there was an ad hoc tournament of breasts

all the women in the bar bared their breasts and lucius had to pick a winner

he picked andrea, which might’ve seemed biased, but it was true

she did have the most beautiful breasts

and i was like, what the fuck is going on

i’m homeless and this is going on

cool

at some point, lucius vanished and then returned with a washtub bass

and some other guy produced a banjo

and i was like, this is really happening

people do this here

i’m homeless but this going on

not bad

and they played a few songs

and this older woman materialized and started holding court

lucius said she was one of bob dylan’s muses back in the day

and i thought, bullshit, and smirked

but what i said was, really, cool

and she said that bob dylan didn’t get enough credit for his paintings

his painterly art was where he really expressed himself

it’s such a tragedy that his masterly paintings are overshadowed by his songs

and then the music stopped and i slunk out

and walked to frenchmen

and crept through the fence of the house-in-progress

in a manner meant to convey “it’s okay, dan said this was okay”

and not “i am breaking and entering”

i put on a fresh mask and drifted off

thinking about banjos, and breasts, and questionable muses

later, much later, when i had a home

it was gary who fixed my roach problem

but he didn’t remember me


Theo Francis has previously appeared in Fanzine and Entropy, and is currently working on a manuscript of poems. You can reach him at acornfetish@gmail.com and @faketheofrancis on Twitter.