They come in off the street
with the clammy heat of city storms.
Nearly men, chancers, clones,
mostly vile. Clothes smeared
with cocktail cherries, a smell
of pickle brine and cordite.
One thumbnail painted blue,
ponytails, though they’re mostly bald.
The glimmer of a fake horizon
works at their back, day for night,
hotdog flesh, a painted sky
but the stars are only pricks
in a paper screen. You heard
about the chained marmoset:
it choked on popcorn. The accountant
stank of horse. Their suitcase
waits in a hotel reception, stocked
with fake blood, a prosthetic penis,
a real gun. They’ll let you aim
at airplanes and passing traffic
and, bored, call up Little Bruno
ready to perform his parlour trick,
but he’s always gawping at the camera
when he should be looking at the sky.
Originally published on The High Window, June 2019