Ron Salutsky

In Praise of Kool Filter Kings

If the sea had skin
you could roll it up over Florida

like a condom, prevent what you only
in the comfort of others’ mishaps call

the spread of Florida. And what’s so wrong
with Florida, then? There’s none

more existential crisis than 6:30 pm in Florida,
and you need not have driven there drunk

the night before, parked on the street
outside the Daytona Beach YMCA, rusty harmonica

on the dashboard and God knows what
looks like donut glaze on the jeans you cut

into jean shorts with a buck knife
just south of Valdosta. We’ve come to the shore,

by God, so we’ve conquered the shore,
quoth you, for puking-on

is 51% of ownership in business-friendly
Florida. The sea is not indifferent,

but rather calms you roaring in your ear.
There’s still half a tank of gas

and an unopened pack of menthols
you must have bought at a Gate

in St. Cloud, now what? You gave
a homeless girl four menthols

and a five-spot and she swore
she’d spend it on bean burritos

and she didn’t even cheapen the deal
by proffering a blowjob. The liquor stores

here never close because it’s the beach
and you know by the way your eyeballs burn

the sun will come up soon and you feel you should pray
but you don’t know what to pray to

and a blue crane perched on the arm
of a lifeguard chair somehow reminds you

there’s love in the world. Now what?

Steel Toe Books releases Kentuckian Ron Paul Salutsky’s first book of poems, Romeo Bones, in 2013. A doctoral candidate in English at The Florida State University, Ron fills his time rock climbing, edible landscaping, working for the teacher’s union, and working on a second manuscript, Of the Limits of Love, of a Lamb’s Ear. Find more at