Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

“Poem for a Chattanooga Night Club”

Book Excerpt: Him or Her or Whatever

Poem for a Chattanooga Night Club

i’m sitting here at a gay bar in the south & this queen is performing
& she’s dressed like a genie & her name is Glistening Goddess

& after the show she comes over to our table & thanks us for coming
& i’m sharing my hushpuppies with a girl in a short-short dress

& Goddess says they’re microwaved & i shouldn’t eat them
but I want to & to my left is a man on a wooden pole

or more like a column really, like structurally significant
& he’s drinking a bud light, but to my right

is a blond woman with an undercut
& her boyfriend & a confederate flag tattoo

on her shoulder & there’s smoke in the air
& the sign outside says no loitering by order of the police

“Poem for a Chattanooga Night Club”

Copyright © 2022 by Tyler Friend. Excerpted from Him or Her or Whatever (Alternating Current). All rights reserved. Tyler Friend was grown — and is still growing — in Tennessee and received their MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. Friend is the author of a chapbook, BUNKER, which is available in Third Man’s “Literarium” book vending machine. Their poems have also appeared in Tin HouseHobart, and Hunger Mountain. They edit Francis House, design for Eulalia Books, teach high school and undergrad, work at a library, and befriend all the cats