This Place

This is where we last spoke
when we last spoke
the last time
you let me in your presence.

This is the alley
and these are the seats
where we sat
talking idly,
quietly, trying to find words
other than goodbye
though that was all
there was really left to say.

That is the lamp
now broken
that then successfully reflected
a single salty tear
off of my face
or so you said.
I still suspect it was sweat.

But really it was windy
because what else
could explain the shivering
and your need to put arms around me
for hours
in this alley
as we waited
for your train
to take you away
until this very day.

It will be good
to see you again
if you ever can
come back

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Brother David

He’s known him about as long as anyone
but that don’t mean he really knows him,
That man’s been faded and shaded
through so many tones and variations
over the years
that whatever Brother David remembers
from way back Hibbing way
could be just some faint recollection
of a glimmer of a hazy memory
and memories, like someone said,
are just a foggy ruin of time
so what does Brother David really know,

He knew him then
and knows him now.
Too few can say that still.
They spend Christmas
or Passover or whatever holidays
he will choose to celebrate
this year.
Who can say?

Brother David could
but he don’t
except to remind
what he said long ago
about the man,
that ever since he’d changed his name
and started spinning those tales:
"He set out to become what he is."

Amen to that, Brother David.
Profound. Pure.
Not at all obscure:

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Fight and Words

Look, I would never say that.
Well, not use those exact words
but it’s pretty obvious
that our little contest
was not exactly fought fairly.
I mean, come on…

You were totally moving
more than just your thumb
to position your hand
into a better position
and you absolutely started maneuvering
before we finished the starting count.

I didn’t say that.
The word “cheater” never escaped my lips,
did they?
I did not once claim
that you lied
or intentionally broke the rules, did I?
I’m not saying that.
I’m just saying that, well,
I think it’s kind of obvious what I’m saying,
I guess, if you know what I’m saying.

You suck at Thumb Wrestling.

No, it’s all right.
It’s fine.
I didn’t want those Alexander the Grapes anyway.
You keep them,
they’re so important to you.
They’re too sour for me.

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Kind When Cruel

When you tell me
I did a good job
and it’s not my first time
doing that kind of a thing
then what you’re telling me
is that all the other jobs
I have ever done
were unremarkable
– literally, else you’d have bothered
to remark upon them –
unless you are inexact in your remarking-
ability, which would make your judgment
in such affairs somewhat less valuable,
wouldn’t it?

Unless you’re saying that the work I did
this time
is so far ahead
of all my other accomplishments
perhaps because of my more frequent
daily incompetence
– in which case,
fuck you very much –
or possibly
you just never cared enough
to pay very much attention
at what I did before.
I guess, if that’s true, then:

Probably it is not your intent
to sling arrows of attack
or hurl pellets of pain
with your barbed blasts of presumed politesse
but your pleasantries, well,
how can I put this kindly?

Shit on the stump of your retarded pleasantries.
The bleeding fucking stump.

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Truck ‘n’ Monkey Show

I just discovered that “Takin’ It Easy,”
The Eagles song
that’s also the Jackson Browne song
is, in reality, “Take It Easy,”
and it is blowing my fucking mind.

I have known that song
(“Rolling down the road,
tryin’ to loosen my load,
I got seven women on my mind…
Takin’ It Easy!”)
ever since I first heard it
on BJ & the Bear,
a T&A truck ‘n’ monkey tv show
from another millennium
and another planet,
and I’ve sung its first verse and chorus
over and over
over the years
and to discover now
after five decades
and a change of centuries
that I’ve always gotten it wrong?
What the fuck.
I mean
come on,
for Greg Evigan’s sake,
what the frigging FUCK?

Is it…
is it maybe possible
that The Eagles released “Take It Easy,”
and then Browne, as cowriter,
opted to rerelease and sing it differently
as “Takin’ It Easy?”
Could that be the case, maybe?
Wikipedia says no
but we all know what the reactionary right
has been up to in filling our minds
with alternate facts, right?

I can see now
that there is no evidence
to support the song
that I have known so well
actually going precisely the way
that I believe it does
which still seems impossible
– like the world has been retilted
at some inconceivable angle
and all axes are entirely
and irrevocably out of whack.

And do NOT even think
of telling me
to take it easy right now.
I will lose my fucking shit.

What worth life today?
All is lies.
All is dust.

I miss Judy Landers’ chest.

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Quittin’ Time

When you said the job we had scheduled next week
was to be cancelled,
I was disappointed, of course,
but far more,
I was relieved
because I was unprepared.
I had not done the necessary research
so did not know the accurate terms
to do the assignment properly.
Had we gone to the job site
it is very possible
I would have botched the project entirely.

Certainly, there are days before the job
and I could have gotten ready.
I could have found time to prepare
and suited up for the work at hand.
I could have become the man for the job
and all could have been well
but really, this is the preferable solution
the elegant, easy way out.

Thanks for the cancellation.
Makes my life much better.

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The Wasting of a Youth

I am reminded again
and again
of how so many
of the things I loved
when I was young
are detestable now.

The comedies I adored then
are, in retrospect, cruel and abusive.
The romances now seem incredibly sexist.
The comics and action movies
I would view with spine-tingled intensity
are, with wiser eyes,
racist, to say nothing
of how poorly they were constructed.
Really, eveything I adored
should, rather, have been abhorred.

But maybe that’s the natural order.
Maybe every generation, eventually,
reviews the crap from their youth
and that critique
is the first evidence of that era’s demise.
Is this, then, a premonition
of the horrors that shall soon befall me and mine?

I don’t think I like the thought
of this shit any better
than the crappy pleasures
of my past.

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Ever Closer

There will come a day
when I will be more
than half your age.
That day is today
and I now finally
old enough
to have lived on this world
for fifty percent
of the time you have.

you will only be
four sevenths more experienced than me
or have one point six times my wisdom
or contain sixty six percent more charm
per serving than I could ever muster.
It’ll take me some time to get there
but I’m coming up, baby.
Oh, soon, I’ll be old enough
to call you baby, too.

I’m getting up there.
I can see it
with my squinty vision
through progressive lenses.
I’m racing you to the finish line
and I’m catching up.

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The Days End

The dumpster outside
is hourly filling
with the former property
of my former neighbor
who for years lived
in the apartment above me
until she stopped.

strangers are clearing
the remains of her belongings
and placing them in the gigantic container
hauled to our location
for the express purpose
of being the final resting place
of all her crap
on the block.

Soon they’ll take
that final resting place
and they’ll send it somewhere else
and they’ll dump it
and it’ll be gone
and forgotten
and life will go on
for some.

Life will go on for me
I suppose.

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Semi-Circle of Reduncedancey

You have to make some changes.
You have to clean house.
You have to get rid of that dirty
cracked thing.
The mirror displeases you
and why should it not?
All it ever presents
is small and afraid
and pathetic.

You are that cliche,
the guy that falls for the waitress
seeing something more
in her general courtesy
Congratulations, jerk.
What’re you looking at?

When will you learn?
How many times
must the wall fall into your face
for you to see
not to run into it?
When will the most obvious lessons
become just a little bit clear
to you?

Grieflets, you’re sad.
Something’s got to change
and you’re that thing.
You’ve got to clean up your act
and fix everything you’ve been doing.
Don’t go to that place anymore
and go to a different store.
Wear out some other floors
and, and just go.
and lock this door.

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