My Way

By Patrick Ryan Frank

A man in Manila is killed for singing Sinatra

off-key in a smoke-filled karaoke club.

It isn’t the first time some happily half-drunk tough

opened his mouth and another pulled out a gun

or a knife and everybody’s good time went bad.

And I understand.  I’ve never hit a man

but there’ve been many men at bars and parties

who’ve spilled their drinks or laughed too loud or said

the wrong thing or haven’t said anything at all.

The fist pulls itself.  The fingers bend

into the pretty idiotic mouths.

I want to show everyone how it should be done

so hard that most of the time I have to hold

my body tightly still, a back-up singer

on a hazy stage, waiting for the beat.