the bill

I dare you to come after me
I dare you…
…to taunt me from the shadows
of the side alley on Williams Street
after I have been drinking at that
no-name joint next door to the
pizzeria that’s open all night
and I dare you to try to find me
in the morning when sun is
five minutes from rising
and the last hangers-on have
toddled off to the serenity of
comfortable beds and crisp sheets
and morning love
and champagne cocktails
and I dare you to locate me
through some long forgotten
personal ad in a bankrupt
magazine,
or from the 1978 Mankato, Minnesota
telephone directory
or through some
mutual friend whom
I haven’t spoken to in 15 years
or some
long retired
derelict watchman
from a Denver train yard
who reported my death
two decades ago
and I dare you to show up
where you aren’t welcome
poking and prodding me
telling me I have to
pay up one last time
submit to a final examination
so I can make plans
for the next transaction
and I’ll watch idly by
as you exhibit your superiority
in matters such as these
So
I dare you to locate me
when I don’t want to be found
when I want to be left alone
But you will find me in the end
you’re a treacherous old
merchant.

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