It’s just a hole-in-the-wall convenience store
Doubling down as a bus terminal
On the road to the El Dorado.
Beyond a wall of warehouses and power lines
Projects the hazy image of Las Vegas
Against a screen of blue desert mountains.
It is already ninety and, with still half an hour
To kill, I go inside.
A decrepit office chair announces
The waiting room of damned passengers
Forced to sit for eternity wedged
Between bookcases of DVD porn
With titles like Drop Your Drawers,
Ass Candy and BodASScious
And a long showcase stocked like a
Museum of the tawdry with marijuana
Papers, bongs and pipes of all colors,
Detoxifying products like Urine Luck
And Ready Clear, a Venus de Milo-shaped candle,
Dagger paperweights and CO2 cylinders,
Radar detectors, gargoyles topped with
Little glass plates to serve up snort,
Long knives with silver and gold
Handles shaped like cobra hoods,
Even a corn cob pipe and bronzed shoe.
Over my head is a rack of Hustler, Playboy,
Penthouse and others harder still.
There is no escape.
I try to pass the time with the local
Entertainment rag laced with
Lusty leather-strapped women advertising
Cabarets and gentlemen’s pleasures.
I put down the paper and clutch my book,
Reading it deliberately as if to
Cleanse myself of these primal images
With a baptism of pure words.
Just in time the bus comes.
I scan the islands of passengers
Scattered among the mostly empty seats:
A tidily-dressed retired couple,
Two young women in silver-sequined
Running suits, and a gray pony-tailed guy
With frazzled beard and vacant eyes.
Gazing at my fellow voyeurs,
I wonder what vices
And passions they harbor.
Together we travel in darkness
Afloat in a wanton sea of desire
That defies my sensibilities
As I delight in being part of it all. ©Gene Twaronite 2013
Originally published in Wilderness House Literary Review, Summer 2013 http://www.whlreview.com/no-8.2/poetry/GeneTwaronite.pdf