Tootsie’s Cabaret

from Paul George’s Dream Journal, Miami, August 17, 2013

Tonight, under the flagrant purple and pink of sweeping stage lights, I am the baller. The millionaire player. Young gun. Cocked. Stacked. Fat and ready to  be chose. Lover. Game cold as Indianapolis Christmas. I be damned if they don’t know. The way I swirl the straight drink in my hand. Recognize who 

I could be. They see I’m some kind of pro strong man and they treat me right. Get hype even if they don’t know my name. The game: I’m a six-nine piece of art, a rack of thick green bands and she’s dancing. Daniela, she says. Her cool wet eyes haloed in liquor and the history of many false looks and heart

fouls. She’s a cardinal in a flock of basic Miami mockingbirds. New York. Queens, she says smooth as I pull hundreds from the fold, quick hand to tuck them in. But she’s fast, breaking the sprint of my ready fingers mid-stride. Word? For real, she says, you have to live, assuming you are real. And, I’m so fucked

up for the rest of the night. Faded. She fades, blurs, into the dim backstage light. So, I think on good things. Giant bass fish, and all the catches in the sea. I’m so unreal, but this crowd seems to still love me, despite the changes.

Ashley Mack-Jackson is a native Hoosier, and the Co-CEO of Word As Bond ( She is an Assistant Professor and Assistant Department Chair of English for Ivy Tech – Central Indiana. Her poetry has appeared in literary journals like ReverieDrumvoices Revue, and Callaloo.

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