Intelligent and fleshy

Intelligent and fleshy,
fiery and right,
she hates the rules, any rules
Life’s grip goes uncontested, nevertheless
We seek the lyrical, she and I, the song
“Since you love words,” my mentor said
But his premise was wrong
I don’t love words, I use them
He sleeps on the bench on the subway platform,
one leg extended through a broken hole
in the wooden armrest designed
to prevent him from lying there
We fought harshly through the last
family celebration
Celebrations, always a mistake for us—
Their inanity, their brutalities, their compulsions
Jack’s wife ran off with the handyman who fixed their roof
She told him about it in a note he found when he came back
from dropping their youngest daughter off
to her first year of college
Free of him, free at last!!!
Which didn’t stop her bitterness as she wasted their
money on lawyers and the courts only to get
just what the law, by statute, would have given her
An old man exits through the subway’s revolving door
as his wife waits—he has the shakes, the trembles,
Parkinson’s maybe or some other old guy tremor
Jack, the dolt, didn’t see it coming
In shock, he said, he stared out the window
in shame, in disbelief, blank for about a year
I couldn’t think, I couldn’t think
and almost lost his job
“Those old people,” my friend Louis said
after I told him what Grandma did this time
(Insulted my mother over a game of bridge
They yelled, they screamed, they yelled)
Louis comes from a tight community where
their old aren’t shunted away
“they don’t always think the same as you and me
We got to give ‘em leeway and respect”
So there was my brother’s friend, Alex, the waiter
trying to open up this crappy bottle of Mateus
with a corkscrew in this mediocre but somewhat expensive
Manhattan steak restaurant, ordered at the table
next to ours by a sweet romantic couple
of chuckleheads from Long Island
There was Alex, his face scrunched in effort
as the god-damned cork wouldn’t budge
Grandma, a musician, couldn’t understand how I
could listen to music before bed
I’d never sleep, she said, as the music
goes around and around in my head
As he pressed, the sweet romantic couple got
seriously pissed and later when I paid our check
I gave Alex a big, big tip—too big, I guess,
because that really seemed to annoy him
I care for nothing so much as your touch...
Mom was so near-sighted she couldn’t see
without her glasses and her friend Charlotte
was almost deaf in one ear
So Mom would send away for concert tickets
for the two of them and their husbands
“Please send me four tickets and by the way,
I am nearly blind and my friend is almost deaf”
The long walk home after a date
when you know you’ve failed to connect
We talked and we talked and we left
Did you see anything, did you hear what was said?
Some day you may not be there
to catch them as they fall
Then the tickets arrive—
Third row center orchestra— Yes!



-July 4, 2015-