HOOK, LINE & SINKER
Just like in the movies, in a crowded room
the attractive blond, in a tailored suit
at the front of the room talking
to the short, bald man, catches
my eye in the back of the room,
looks away, then not even
a minute later, catches
my eye again,
Later, in her condo/apartment/cottage
in a king/queen/double bed
beneath an open window -
there has to be an open window -
as her boy/girl friend slides
the length of her soft
white belly, does she open
her eyes to the dusky
white light -
picture my face,
my smile, think of me
THE CRUX OF IT
On the day before the visit to the urologist
she brings Twinkies to the lounge where he sits
in front of a 46-inch color tv
tossing a large rubber ball to the heavy-set woman
who throws it to the skinny, bald man
who bounces it back to him.
Catching with one hand, he grins
and throws it again. Motioning
my mother next to him, he wraps his arm
tightly around her. In a little while
they go to his room where he talks about the weather,
a car passing by, a trip they took in 1945,
and eats two packages of Twinkies.
She listens. After fifteen minutes, she talks and he listens,
then he says, "Don't stub your toe
on the way out the door."
"I just got here," she says.
"Guess there's not much to talk about,"
he says. Rails down, he curls into himself,
covering his head with a gravy-stained pillow.
She sits quietly -- thinking of his appointment in the morning;
the rain predicted for the evening.
When she starts to leave, he calls out, "Wait,
I have to hug and kiss you a couple of times
so I can remember who you are."
Standing on a tree stump
under a million stars
I take in the night sky,
imagining the Sierra Nevadas
in springtime, camping
at 7,200 feet
in Jackass Meadow, not realizing,
till later, I'm pissing
all over my shoes.
Whenever we visit these people
it's the same old thing.
A good French wine, a Margaux
or Pauillac, then dinner,
more wine, cheaper this time,
dessert is a pipe full of Sinsemilla.
He switches to 3 fingers of Jack;
we stay with the wine. Talk
shifts from household repairs
to politics, to childhood. A couple
of Jacks, and the fire in his eyes
lights up the room.
He talks about his mother, sisters
locking him in the basement, tied
to a chair. When he swore,
they stuffed a cake of Ivory
in his mouth. "Bite it," they said.
The air outside is fresh, cool.
I'm fifty years old.
It's time to think about
mountains, blue skies, those stars
too numerous to count,
not empty bottles,
growing stronger with every glass.
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