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What do we say

What do we say to each other
in bars and in parties,
with the dark noise all around?
She wanted to stay despite
how the bleakness she feels
separates her from love
She acts on her feelings, he doesn’t

Words are edgy, often too complete—
the wrong things get said, can’t be
taken away, their edges too steep
Why did she seduce and solicit love
when she knew she couldn’t return it?
“Always send thank you
notes, get into the habit”

We loved the Three Stooges, Matt and I
when we were seven and eight years old
When Gramps told us we were going
to a Three Stooges movie we literally
laughed our happy laughs, clapped
our hands, jumped and shouted in glee
We loved the Three Stooges

more for the violence (all in good fun)
than the funny “My eyes, my eyes
I can’t see, I can’t see!!!” Curly
shouted and then Moe, concerned
said, “Why can’t you see?”
“I have my eyes closed” said Curly
triumphantly smiling and then

Moe would hit the bald, misnamed Curly
(funny see?) in the head with his fist
“Kids, don’t try this at home”
said benign Officer Joe Bolton
between the Three Stooges reruns
on TV and we kids knew better than
to do that, so we didn’t

Unresolved traumas can wait
If only “this” then everything will clear
but there’s always another “this”
She said, “That’s it, I’d had it with this
city and then our people, my friends, started dying
By 1983, I put my kids in boarding school
and left, for five years, to live in Paris”

“And another thing—
the letter you sent me was
hardly readable—it was
sloppy and the address on the
envelope didn’t include my zip code
If I didn’t know you I would
have tossed it all—envelope,

letter and all, unread into the trash
It’s as if you didn’t care whether your
letter was read or even received”
The glory of life—find what you
like, do it again, repeat
Grandpa used to watch TV a lot
All the same there were only

six working channels in those days
and only three of them were networks with
one of them, public channel 13, for intellectuals
When color TVs first came out
Gramps had to have one
I remember seeing the greens on
the golf course bleed into everything,

even through the whites of
of the golf pro’s shirts, the flesh on
their hands, even through the golf ball
as it shot through the air and for the life
of me I still (Gramps didn’t even play—
did he gamble?) don’t understand why
Gramps watched professional golfers on TV

 

 

-May 5, 2018-