I've neglected Monday's Poetry since returning to Phoenix a little over two weeks ago, and as a way of getting back into the Monday habit, I looked for something to post today that has an Arizona flavor. The poem that I have chosen is "Tucson" by Stephen Dunn. The piece is descriptive of Arizona's rough edge, and while the poet talks in terms of Tucson, the picture that he paints could easily be of one of the seamier areas of central Phoenix. It's tough writing, Arizona tough.
by Stephen Dunn
A man was dancing with the wrong woman
in the wrong bar, the wrong part of town.
He must have chosen the woman, the place,
as you choose what to wear
when you dress to kill.
And the woman, who could have said no,
must have made her choice years ago,
to look like the kind of trouble
certain men choose as their own.
I was there for no good reason myself,
with a friend looking for a friend,
but I'm not important.
They were dancing close
when a man from the bar decided
the dancing was wrong. I'd forgotten
how fragile the face is, how fists too
are just so many small bones.
The bouncer waited, then broke in.
Someone wiped up the blood.
The woman began to dance
with another woman, each in tight jeans.
The air pulsed. My hands
were fidgety, damp.
We were Mexicans, Indians, whites.
The woman was part this, part that.
My friend said nothing's wrong, stay put,
it's a good fighting bar, you won't get hurt
unless you need to get hurt.