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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