Two Poems by Nathan Graziano

Rel­a­tive to Guns 'N' Ros­es

In a box in the base­ment, strewn with cob­webs,
I find a pho­to album and the rat­ty blond wig

I wore one Hal­loween in col­lege when I dressed
as my alter ego, the front man of a lip­stick band

named Chix that I quit the band in a hissy fit
when my drummer’s hero­in habit left him

unable to keep time, nod­ding at live shows
and absent when it came to the stu­dio tracks.

So my alter ego pur­sued a solo project, abort­ed
when I col­lapsed on stage then went to rehab

and came out a Sci­en­tol­o­gist, pay­ing big bucks
to have the thetans expelled from my body.

Or that was the nar­ra­tive I told the pret­ty girl
who did my make-up that night as I snort­ed

an eight-ball of cocaine and tried to pre­tend
that I was inter­est­ing and unpre­dictable, claim­ing

I had a high school friend who was a road­ie
for Guns N’ Ros­es who said that Axl Rose

suck­er-punched him back­stage dur­ing a black­out.
And as she applied a thick stripe of blue

blush­er, trac­ing each cheek­bone, I told her
that rel­a­tive to Axl Rose, my own drug use

was strict­ly recre­ation­al. And now, as I stare
at this pic­ture of me at twen­ty-two, wear­ing

a skintight pair of thrift-store leather pants,
I can hear her tell me, “You’re try­ing too hard.”

With Salt

Roger, a friend from the bar,
can’t stand Bart, a guy in his 50s
who wears farmer’s over­alls,
dri­ves a red antique road­ster
and par­rots the pro­pa­gan­da
he picks up from Fox News.

One night, soused, Roger
explained to me that salt
will dis­si­pate the head on a beer
as Bart strolled into the bar
with chick­en chunks in his beard.

I don’t under­stand why
the homos think they can
mar­ry like reg­u­lar peo­ple,”
Bart said then sucked back
a bump of house bour­bon.

Bart the Fart,” Roger barked,
lick­ing his top lip and grin­ning.
Bart didn’t hear him but I laughed.
With salt, what else needs to be said?

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