Serving House: A Journal of Literary Arts
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SHJ Issue 6
Fall 2012

The First Time

by Barry North

“The first time I made love,
I called out my own name.”
—A joke overheard in a bar
It took me without warning,
ironically, on a Sunday morning,
while my parents were away at church.
And when it hit me,
it possessed me completely,
like a demon,
had me
straddling doors
and climbing walls
in a frenzy,
like a cat in heat,
rubbing myself,
for long glorious minutes,
against any hard surface I could reach,
and, eventually,
had me doing the St. Vitus’ dance
in my father’s favorite chair,
until, finally,
in a stunning climax,
a white flood of sticky fluid,
as though from some deep internal well,
gushed forth out of my body
into my hands and onto the floor,
leaving me slouched in an enervated daze,
like someone gone temporarily insane,
coming to and finding himself
sitting in the middle of a crime scene,
covered with incriminating evidence and
holding the smoking gun in his hands.


SHJ Issue 6
Fall 2012

Barry North

is a sixty-seven-year-old retired refrigeration mechanic. Since his retirement in 2007, he has been nominated twice for a Pushcart Prize, won the 2010 A. E. Coppard Prize for Fiction, and, more recently, won Honorable Mention in the 2011 Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Paterson Literary Review, Slipstream, The Dos Passos Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Green Hills Literary Lantern, Amoskeag, and others.

Along the Highway, a fiction chapbook, has been published by White Eagle Coffee Store Press, and his first chapbook of poems, Terminally Human, will be published by Finishing Line Press.

“...we have been born here to witness and celebrate. We wonder at our purpose for living. Our purpose
is to perceive the fantastic. Why have a universe if there is no audience?” — Ray Bradbury