The Comedy Club

by Rodger Martin

My friend and I reserved a front table at The Firefight
where one-liners traced green and red and furious.
Applause rocketed the stage so we held our quick-
witted weapons lightly.  The comedians gave as good
as they got and kept the audience spilling from its seats.

After the show, in the shadow of the rubble of the wall
of this house that once was a home, we raised ourselves
from the gutter where so many patrons held autographs
from the stars.  These who moments before had rolled
their raunchy cups now lay patient, silent as sacks.

I smiled at the piss stain on one’s crotch
While my friend chuckled at the shit in another’s trousers.
Since no one had washed for weeks, we giggled
at the smells.  A boot of someone’s leg stood upright
in the mud outside the wall.  We howled

At the boot’s body scalping tickets in the sky.
Further away, floating in the rain-filled crater of the shell
that had brought down the house, was the corpse
of a woman bloated and eager.  We hooted
’til our sides split, guffawed ’til the air choked,

cackled ’til we gagged, held each other aching
until the laugh became what it was.


Rodger Martin’s third poetry volume, The Battlefield Guide, (Hobblebush) uses locations on battlefields of the Civil War to reflect upon America today. Small Press Review selected The Blue Moon Series, (Hobblebush) as a bi-monthly pick of the year. He received an Appalachia poetry award, a New Hampshire State Council on the Arts Fiction Fellowship, and fellowships from The National Endowment for the Humanities. He has been translated in On the Monadnock: New Pastoral Poetry released in China, 2007. He serves as an editor in The Granite State Poetry Series.

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