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Friday, November 25, 2016

A WOMAN'S SCENT...FADING















A worldly young man, tainted by love,
railing against the ruling classes,
(promising a chicken in every pot
but offering a payday loan joint on every corner)
drives down a lonely road.
The snow beyond the windows impenetrable.
The wind whipping across the park.

In his mind's ear: 
flute music played
by street musicians from Chile--
portable lives in the nomadic sun.

He hears: The war drums of the Sioux.
He hears: The voice of God singing "Hey Jude."

He wonders if he can reconcile
with the Antichrist in the kitchen.
He remembers when she said "Teach me to love."
They devoured each other like
children with melting candy.
(The just washed dankness of her hair.)

He drives past a billboard that says:
WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH STRETCH MARKS

In his mind it is all compartmentalized--
there are remnants of old lovers in each of these rooms.

And it's so puzzling to be a person
asking why does anything exist?
Time moves imperceptibly
until the world becomes a city full of strangers.

And he wants to be at a ski lodge
in the Grand Tetons, sitting cozy by the fire.
A young woman moves near.
She is an African girl--so lovely
it makes him sad. It is her love
for her youth, and for his,
that draws them together.
Could a dance like this go on forever?

And he passes a billboard that says:
WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WITH B.O.

And he is back on the island
with Marie--it is where they met.
The alliance of sun and alcohol
so conducive to romance.
His imagination so fertile now,
filled with ghosts and ballerinas.

When he gets home they will talk,
like they never do. He will clear the air.
He will ask if she's having an affair.
And though he knows she is
a sovereign nation unto herself,
they must remain allies to prevent
both their worlds from collapse.
And he knows to some degree that he
will always be searching for the Holy Grail.

He glances at his watch
though he does not want to think about  time--
the only constant in life being the question
of whether love will be there in the morning.

The snow swirls around his car.
On the street a white-haired man
bends haltingly against the wind.

He is almost home.

He passes a billboard that reads:
WE'RE LOOKING FOR PEOPLE WHO STILL CAN'T BELIEVE THEY ATE THE WHOLE THING

He parks the car, then tramps
the few steps up to the apartment.
He inserts the key. He opens the door...

A woman's scent, fading.

The past...
the present.. 
a blurry haze. 
The world is on fire.

The funniest thing...
And now he remembers.

Marie has been gone for twenty-five years. 
And he is not the young man anymore.

He is the old one.



This is a revised version of a poem that first appeared here four years ago.



Tuesday, November 22, 2016

SAY HIS NAME













He is heading out
for open road,
 big rig humming.

Thanksgiving morning.
The day is crisp and clear.

He will eat his holiday dinner
at some truck stop,
where his banter with the waitress--
a kindred spirit--
will be about keeping the world running
while the rest of 'em
spend the day gettin' fat and happy.

In a while,
he will put in a call to Janie and the kids.
They'll be over at mom's today.
In their pre-meal prayer,
they will say his name.

And yes, he is thankful.
Hell...lucky to have a job at all
the way things are going.

The road snakes on to somewhere
anywhere
nowhere.

And the holiday travelers
blow past him,
just another obstacle
in the way
on the way
to their overindulgence.

He remembers how,
in the beginning,
he thought this would be
a romantic kind of life.
But as he looks out now,
across the endless expanse,
he is struck by the thought
that it's kinda like
gazing at the moon
in daylight.



Friday, November 11, 2016

IT'S YESTERDAY ONCE MORE (.doo-be-doo-lang-lang...)



Goin back
to a simpler time and place
where at the table
the family says grace
and father knows best

A place where climate change
does not exist
and those greenhouse gas emissions
like the truth
need no regulatin'

Back to a time where
her right to choose
means which pretty dress
in the storefront display window
she will wrap up and take home

Where if we all just stay healthy
there'll be no need
for that costly insurance
just make sure to get
your morning constitutional
in every day

And speaking of the constitution
well, that civil rights amendment 
(# 14 for those keeping score at home)
has not yet been passed
and being civil
means no disobedience--
we'll all get along fine
long as everyone stays in his place

With a chicken in every pot
and a piece riding every hip
don't look at me cross-eyed, boy
don't give me no lip

A land of equal opportunity
where any man
with large enough bills
can rise to the highest office in the land
even if he has no class
(even if he looks like the business end
of a baboon's ass!)

Back to a simpler time
and simple times were meant
for simple minds

So let's play a game of let's pretend
it's the fifties again
don't forget your lunch pail, dad
on your way out the door
and when you get home
mom will have a fresh apple pie
cooling on the window sill

Oh, and remember it's election day
so don't forget to vote
you can get there on your bike...

I LIKE IKE!!!



Monday, November 7, 2016

THE CAMERA ZOOMS IN





With her automaton smile
the six o'clock news Barbie
recites a litany of the day's
shootings
stabbings
muggings
rapings
robbings
lootings
burnings 
natural disasters
sewer main ruptures
and one arrest for
spitting on the sidewalk.

The camera zooms in

on a whopper of a loogie
oozing on the concrete
in all its wicked glory.

A young gendarme collects it,

gingerly,
to be analyzed at the lab
so that someone can say
on good authority:
Yep, that's a loogie alright
and tag it "Exhibit A."

The wild-eyed derelict

they've collared
for this egregious offense
manages to fire a parting shot at the camera
a real bullseye that does a 

slooooow


shimmering


hoochie-koochie dance


down the middle of your TV screen--


while the Barbie's pasted-on smile

and glib tone never wavers
like her counterpart on CNN
who dispassionately described
the incineration of eighty-odd
men
women
and children
live as it happened at Waco
for to betray a hint of emotion
would not be impartial
nor professional
when anyone with a whit
of human compassion
would have hung her head and wept.


But that's okay

it's all in a day's work
and it all blends together
after a while anyway...
the real blood you see on the news
looks like the ketchup oozing
in that old burger commercial
from the nineties
and everyone out there
in TV land
is just as numb as you are.

And the guy who spit at you, well

he's only trying to wake you up...
cuz like the old ad once said
If it doesn't get all over the place
it doesn't belong in your face.