Del’s Supper Club

Spencer Walts illustration from Shrine of the Tooth Fairy.

John Lehman stopped by this morning for coffee and audio. We’re celebrating the release of the Kindle ebook edition of John’s poetry collection, Shrine of the Tooth Fairy, first published by Cambridge Book Review Press in 1998. The ebook includes Spencer Walts’s wonderful illustrations. Here’s John earlier today reading “Del’s Supper Club”:

Del’s Supper Club / John Lehman

They used to sit on car hoods
along the beach
or turn radio knobs and cigarettes
and watch the coil
of sun go out
and wait
for distant rumblings,
for the smell of lightning
from across the lake.

Now they applaud
of liar’s dice
in a leather cup—
white shirt, short sleeved men,
who might sell appliances or tires
their wrist hairs coil
so smoothly
over chainlinked bands.
Laughter barks
from gesturing hands.
They caress a party glass
with a pin-up in a dress
that disappears
behind ice and gin
as the incandescent sign
through an open window’s screen
into a lipstick blot,
red taffeta,
eye glass frames of plastic bone.
They drift to midnights long ago
when bodies slid from clothes
and in the river glided over rocks,

their fingers slipping into moss,
while pines reeked, overripe
as rotting cantaloupe.

They hesitate,
at urinals,
with feet raised on rails at bars,
and in parking lots
at the door handles of their cars,
to a green strand of neon

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