Justin Lacour

regulatory capture

When the forest comes back to reclaim all this, the 24-hour tax loan, the strip club shaped like a

monolith, I want to be on the right side. Not of history, something more elemental, less predicated

on firepower and who controls the schools on a given day. I don’t want to wake up to find I was

kind with no sense of duty, had brains with no bearings. The afternoon comes on crude and

blustery, lacking pathos and shadow. I can’t comprehend why the bird nesting under the interstate

sounds like a heart, but I know the man with one crutch mowing his little patch of lawn, the other

crutch leaning against the twenty-mile-per-hour sign, is not a fucking symbol. He stares at me like a

new cellphone, when I’m just at the crux of day-drinking, where you either keep going or lay down

to regroup. Man with one crutch, the panthers and lightning of your metal shirt are not dark portals

for me to get lost in. We need to deal with you. We can’t deal with you. We should talk about

something else. I want to walk humbly, limit myself to three tiny cigarettes after meals. If I had a

long-enough hat, you’d call it the cantilevered part of my soul, if you looked from

a distance, from the city where nobody lives.

floating holiday

I’m standing on the same corner where I stood as an altar boy. They still haven’t figured out what

to do with downtown. I’d propose a jaw mechanism where the statutes spit invectives at passers-by,

like the numinous part of a childhood movie of menace and treasure. Though a second dancing

fountain is more likely. Some people live in the past without seeing it as a staging area to undermine

the present, but not me. I look forward to getting paid and buying a pack of those cigars with the

wooden tips. We should let our animus expand till it fills the contours of the three-day weekend.

There’s time to browse the arrest register, time to debate vigorously wolf pack versus cat’s eyes for

the rear window of the truck with the wizened punks and professional drinkers wandering the

shores of the lake, trying to develop some honorable secret sufficient to make the bird on your

shoulder bow down to eat. There’s a man in a brown bathrobe emptying what appears to be a box

of bread on the sidewalk. Those little hamburgers you cook in their own plastic are back at the gas

station. I can connect “everyone I know” to a character from The Faerie Queene. That doesn’t

make me special, but passes the time, which is otherwise a cluster of shadows. The indefatigable

Ms. Hoot and her brood might swing by later, which could mean real dinner or, at the very least

movies from the library. Then again, the high school is mounting Glengarry Glen Ross. I like a lot of

cursing without power or competency, just as she likes the sight of men in suits who barely

understand what they’re saying.

Justin Lacour lives in New Orleans. His work has appeared or is forthcoming from Bayou Magazine, Natural Bridge, New Orleans Review (Web Features), and other journals.

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