Nocturne with a Pistol and a Night Bazaar

Oliver de la Paz

                   Please feel free to call us, the police, or do it yourself if you have the gun, you have my support.

                        —Rodrigo Dutarte on extrajudicial murders of drug offenders

His hair is tied back with rubber bands beneath

          his motorcycle helmet and the visor

reflects back the incongruous neon

          as the heat beneath his crotch localizes his thinking:

he will fire after the man orders his drink.

Afterhours are precincts, delirious with workers,

          starved by their histories and even more ravenous

than this boy idling in the alleyway. The cash

          in his breast pocket an advance just above his heart.

The wrong light of the parlors erases the dark,

save the silver chain of the target’s stopwatch.

          And how the night’s field opens and compromises

a breastbone — a spiraling bullet’s pirouette and

          the crocus-like mechanism of blood on a shirt,

opening because justice is a question and the answer

          is a secret, isn’t it? To gun the motor past the scene

and the virtues of the age. The heat between thighs —

          the high of the report shocking the thumb

with the pistol’s kickback and the promise of the payout

          all because of God’s work. Isn’t it God’s work?

This fever? This heretofore? This magical scald?


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