Previous Feature: Bill Gainer

Bill Gainer is a storyteller, humorist, poet, and a maker of mysterious things. He earned his BA from St. Mary’s College and his MPA from the University of San Francisco. He is the publisher of the PEN Award winning R. L. Crow Publications and is the ongoing host of Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium (Sacramento, CA). Gainer is internationally published and known across the country for giving legendary fun-filled performances. Visit him in his books, at his personal appearances, or at his website,


Old Burns

I knew a guy
back in the sixties
had a scar
from a clothes iron
on his belly
just above
his belt line.

You could tell
it was an iron
kind of looked like
a just launched
It must have hurt like

He said it happened
in the Navy
loading shells
over by Vietnam.

He lied
let the truth slip out
one night—
too many cocktails
at the Busy-Bee Club.

His second wife
had put it to him—
she liked to fight

Cost him fifteen hundred
to replace three of her teeth
from the punch
that knocked her out
that night.

In those days
they called it passion.
When the blood boiled
you let it

He said the marriage lasted
another year
until she came at him
with the pruning shears
and even though
she’d moved to Reno
he still carried
a Mexican switchblade.
Just in case
she still loved him.


A Rickety Hotel—on a Cliffside, Hwy 1, Long Ago 

I think I
rented a room there
Was asked to leave
because of the dancing.
My partner was a big girl
thick thighs,
we liked to Mambo.
I thought it was my moves
causing the world to sway.
They said it was the foundation
She called me her
Little Peach.
We’ve lost touch
but I still remember those
thick thighs
and every now and then
in a crowded room
a quiet bar
or a sleepy bus stop
I’ll bust a move—
Just in case
she’s out there
looking for me.
Christ, I’m sure
she don’t look
the same either
but it would be nice
to hear her voice,
“Don’t I know you?
You ever spent time
up on the coast?
I used to dance with
a guy up there.
He drank bourbon.
You drink
You dance?”


All Hail! Bill Gainer’s full-length collection, Lipstick and Bullet Holes (Epic Rites Press, 2015), is available on Amazon. Simply click on the cover image below to learn more . . .


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