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Hey root beer!!!

Every day on the way to high school
I’d get a root beer from this little
place, with its window to the street,
served cold in a cone-shaped paper cup
It got to where they’d pour it when
they saw me coming—One day late
as I walk down the street from

across the street I hear “Hey
root beer!!!” loud from the guy
who knew me only as “root beer”
Left on his own too soon,
he mistakes the like for
the real—desperate sometimes for 
money, affection and company

Work and sleep laced within
a few moments of fun—the sense
of excitement lies beneath—so complex are
we, as we change within our many sides
It’s never the end of time
but it’s always time’s end
with agony’s god at the center  

You’re clever ‘cause your
pleasures may come in solitude—
Impulse, the innermost rational
and irrational, cautiously hidden
It’s stated as it actually happened
but, as usual, we make it up because
the  same messages change their fine

wrought forms, as hardships harden us
Some of time’s presents were poisoned
We can’t step away from life to check
on its meaning any more than we can
step away from a thunderous train
“You can’t swim here, brother,
you’re no longer welcome here”

In the middle of his magnificence,
in the glories of his triumphs.
he’s pensive, he frowns, he stares
Here’s his hundreds of ships, 20,000
troops, a thousand tanks and deadly
military missiles, his air force, his artillery
“In a hundred years all of us will be gone”

In every kitchen scene or living
room on TV, there’s a conspicuous
bowl of fruit—homey, I guess
I like apples and grapes, don’t you?
“Get my mother a new refrigerator!”
my father, as a boy screams at his father
He couldn’t stand to see his mother cry

Dad was a public relations man who
might forget your name unless
he’d sneak to the bathroom and
write it down—“Mom sent me
a kissy face emoji in response
Not sure how I feel about that”
Dreams don’t always fit nice

Brown rats are vicious and more
likely to live away from humans
You certainly don’t want one
for a pet—Our plots don’t move
in straight lines, because nature
hates straight lines—The best way
to die, reportedly, said Caesar,

is “unexpectedly”—You open the
door but your room has changed
The success of coercion is ugliness
We bear witness as we engage
with the world, as we squeeze the
last drops of slavery from our blood
These days, she says, I cry quite easily

-May 16, 2020-