Begin in San Francisco, 1973. . .The Barker

The Barker, inspired by a frenetic individual cajoling passersby as he stood beneath blinking red nipples in North Beach, first appeared in The New Deep City Press, a 4-color publication run off on a Gestetner by its publisher, Ralph Hoffschildt, cab dispatcher extraordinaire.  Mark Joseph, later a very successful novelist, and I were the editors.  The New Deep City Press was an outlet for literary misfits and illustrators who happened to make a living driving a cab.  We sold it out of City Lights Bookstore for a buck.  The magazine became City Lights best-selling small press at the time and caught the attention of Playboy Magazine, the San Francisco Chronicle, a number of radio stations and later on, the U.S. government.  Now you can find it in the Smithsonian. 

The Barker 

Twitchy fingers and itchy eyes
Selling overdone thighs
Spy upon lonely brown suits,
Surrounded by nervous blue smoke.
A forced smile his disguise
Blinking lights the domain
In his solitary refrain
Of naked lady wrestlers.
“Pounds of flesh!
Mounds and mounds!”
Spouts from the clown,
White tie and red shirt
Stuffed around potato waist
He finishes his sentences
With his hands.
At two o’clock,
Silicon breasts
Leave with horny white turtlenecks,
Craggy cheeks wander on home
And the barker is left standing there,
All alone.