His Master's Vice



His Master’s Vice

Whenever I guide Jack to The Cataract Lounge,

an upscale gentlemen's club catering to the blind

and visually impaired, I always feel a little guilty.

As Jack's best friend, I really should tell him the truth:

that--like all the other old gents there with their dogs--

he's being exploited, ripped off. The dancers

are wearing Converse sneakers and bib overalls,

and are hardly moving, just sort of shuffling around

beside the neglected chrome pole on the stage,

while the bored, unnecessary bouncers stare at their phones.

But Jack and his geezer pals are clearly enjoying themselves,

tapping their white canes on the floor in time with the music

and directing lewd shout-outs at the unseen women.

So I don't want to spoil anyone's fun, Jack's least of all,

even though, with my excellent sense of small, I know

that what we have here is a sad, meretricious charade.

George J. Searles

Originally from Jersey City, George J. Searles is a community college teacher in upstate New York.  He came to higher education from an earlier career in social work (max security prison, public assistance, state mental hospital). Writing textbooks to pay the bills and poetry because he has no choice, he is a former Carnegie Foundation New York State "Professor of the Year." He has published in 80+ lit mags, including The Alembic, California Quarterly, Chiron, Coe Review, Concho River Review, Footwork, Lynx Eye, MadSwirl, Main Street Rag, The Potomac, Red Rock Review, Seneca Review, Southampton Review, Taproot, Third Wednesday, Trajectory, and others.

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