Monday, March 31, 2014

When did they get rid of the iron?

Do Not Pass Go,

do not collect two-hundred dollars, it’s jail
for you my friend, just down the street
from Oriental Avenue where a decent
bird’s nest soup can still be found if you know
where to look, that shabby stretch of robin’s

egg blue in the shadow of the slammer
where I’ll come visit unlike the top hat and 
battleship.  Sidle on over to the
open fridge for some candid advice,

an enumeration of their treacheries
while you buy us a beer and refill my plate
with shrimp empanadas.  Did I happen

to mention your choice of the thimble
is commendable, a token of protection
against pricks and unscrupulous wheeler

dealers up and down St. Charles Place, spiky 
caveats of confidence men buried
in the fine print along the Reading Railroad line. 

Maybe I’m just a broken down old boot
but troubles afoot once you pass Free Parking.  
The wheel barrow with her insipid small

talk, those close set eyes, has designs on  
autumnal Kentucky Avenue clear
out to leafy Marvin Gardens, our

old stomping ground, the deed to Ventnor
rounding out your meager portfolio
of utilities and Baltic Avenue. 

I’m prepared to offer you freedom in
a transaction sanctified by mutual
trust, sealed on little more than a handshake.
Forty dollars and my Get Out of Jail

Free card for your stake dividing my own 
Atlantic and Marvin Gardens, a stone’s throw
from my humble holdings on Boardwalk and
Park Place where you’ll never be a stranger,
at a rate reserved for my dearest friends. 

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Fire Drill

Time spent, just the two of us on the bathroom
after everyone else had exited with all
the aplomb of bagpipes exhaling one
last, droning breath, (not to mention the piercing

klaxon bray that drilled burr holes in our heads
until the school secretary switched

it off), was pastoral.   Tile and water
trickling from the balky flush valve of a

no nonsense urinal not unlike the
nothingness of a Zen garden tended by

prostrate monks, our heads wreathed by tonsures of
silence, the sand and stone behind the wall

of your skull in eternal disarray
under the rake of a frenzied god, this

capricious deity that frog marched you onto
the bus each morning, anointed with Haldol,
appointed in labeled state issue raiment,

his will be done until the final bray of the

Monday, March 24, 2014



A cheddar wheel of morning sun
grates up against the window screen
to curl in whorls into the room
where side by side we sleep in late
displayed on continental pins
Rorschach of papery wings mask
softly sifting light and rind, our
still silhouettes nestled in drifts.  


He also saw the cook’s cat, which could do somersaults. 

At least that’s what the cook said,
a claim the cat, a shapeless sack
of snide, deigned neither to confirm

or deny, content to kill her
afternoons in desultory

elongation, stationed on
the window ledge above the blackened
ten burner Garland range.

Once, when the cook stepped outside
to smoke, the cat, her mood sour,

expansive, airily confided
that the corpulent cook could climb
the stairs on his hands while whistling

“Parlez-Moi d’Amour”, then spat
in the soup, dispelling any

lingering incredulity,
his stomach duly nailing
a flawless double backflip. 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Say cheese

Senior Trip, 1949

Tempting to leave it behind, the boxy
Brownie Target 16 sitting forlorn
on the scarred bureau in a Baily’s Crossroads
hotel room, relief map of green linoleum

cracking wise to the drowsy transom  
yawning in the morning heat, yearning
for a cross breeze, window open on
Truman’s second term, brick on the flop

house across the way close enough to touch,
diesel oozing up to the fourth floor
like icing in a layer cake tipped
onto its side, bus idling in the alley

waiting to ferry the class of ’49 across
the river, the way paved by cherry blossom.
Time enough, back over the Blue Ridge, through
Bristol, to quilt a throw of conviction, a colorful

serape for your father, posing draped and aged  
at the bus stop while you fumble the clunky
box from a Knoxville Woolworths, betrayed by
such a confusing array of apertures.