Ron Riekki

Tom Waits Interview

No one cares
that the escalator is broken.
Someone left a zoo cage unlocked
and the tiger just sat there, too tired,
from everything.
When Tom deconstructs an interview,
it’s a bright Vegas jewel.
Have you ever looked at the moon
on a boring night?
It sort of stamps its way into the party.
In college, there was a girl
who made my skin drift to heaven,
but she had no interest in sleeping with me
or on me or near me or by me or for me.
A friend of mine slept with her and on her and near her
and told me the secret was playing Small Change
so I sometimes crank it by a window
like a random mating call to the world.
I once had two punks scream something up to me,
which was the closest I ever came
to coming out of the closet,
but it’s too comfortable in there,
the smoke, the memory
of three lines of dialogue
where Waits makes you forget
about kings and ‘night clubs in heaven.’
The one-liners from the host tire me,
but Tom can mumble forever.
There was a German girl in my Holocaust class
that said she used to be a rapper.
I asked her to send me a list of Euro- hip-hop acts
I should listen to.  She never got back to me.
Music makes loneliness handsome.

Ron Riekki’s non-fiction, fiction, and poetry have been published in River Teeth, Spillway, New Ohio Review, Shenandoah, Canary, Bellevue Literary Review, Prairie Schooner, New Orleans Review, Little Patuxent Review, Wigleaf, and many other literary journals.  He likes NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts.

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