Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Brooklyn Bridge Is 120

The Brooklyn Bridge is 120
Years old
And she hardly looks a day
Over 100
I have always loved her
This bridge
This magnificent
Feat of engineering
The space shuttle
Of her day
When she was a mere 88
I threw her a birthday party
At the time
I was working for
Sam Leone
The Brooklyn Borough President
Who was the borough president
When Welcome Back Kotter
Was a hit on TV
When my boss
David E. Cohen
Sam’s deputy
Left town
To have
Some surgery
He told me
To not stir the pot
Or start any
Unauthorized projects
Unless he
The idea
Sure boss
I said
After all
How much trouble
Could I possibly cause
That is how
The Brooklyn Bridge’s
88th birthday party
I called in some friends
All of the Brooklyn
City Council members
And one of the local
Neighborhood bakeries
Baked a special cake
I invited the media
And the mayor of NYC
The Hon. John V. Lindsay
Who came with
His entire entourage
And every Manhattan
City Council person too
Me and the Brooklyn Boro Prez
Led our contingent
With all of our borough’s flags
And the folks on the Manhattan side
Did the same
We all met somewhere
In the middle of the bridge
Under those magnificent
Gothic arches
And we shook hands and embraced
Then both sides turned around
And headed for their favorite pubs
To toast the bridge
And ourselves
When my boss returned
From Canada
He started to give me the
Good old whatfor
I heard the ruckus
You kicked up
All the way
In Canada
He said
You all made
The evening TV news
I thought I told you
To cool your jets
While I was away
I know I said
But I just couldn’t
Help myself
I just wanted to see
If I could handle
A big press event
By myself
And it worked
I said showing him
All the newspaper clippings
I even saved you
A piece of the cake
He was smiling
This was usually
A good sign
Well don’t let it go
To your head
He said
Wincing a bit
Where his new stitches pulled
Next thing I know
You’ll be bucking
For my job
And he was right
Because I did

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Sumo Sized Men

I have always
Been a fan
of very large men
And by large
I mean
Sumo wrestler size
Men who make
The earth shake
When they walk
Much like
The ancient
Sauropods did
With their every
Forward step
Sumo wrestler
Sized women?
Not so much

When I was
A kid
Growing up
In Brooklyn
I lived in a neighborhood
Called Bensonhurst
Bensonhurst by the sea
Near the spectacular
And very famous
Verrazano Bridge
Where super sized men
Were more or less
The norm
Big guys
Like Paulie
In the movie
And just like Paulie
These men
Didn’t move
Very fast
Again just like Paulie
They didn’t have to
Because everyone it seemed
Just got out of their way

It’s no wonder
That men like Paulie
Often became
Debt collectors
For the mob
These bohemoths were intimidating
By their very presence
All they ever had to do
Was to show up
At some dead beat’s
Front door
And before
You could say
Jackie Robinson
Envelopes of cash
Would be quietly
And these boys
Always dressed very well
In custom made suits
Imported from Italy
And hand made in
China town
And they always drove
Beautiful cars
And they all spent
Most of their leisure time
In the social clubs
That dotted
The entire length
Along 86th street
An outdoor
Shopping mall
That was eternally
In the shadow
Of the el trains
That roared
And rumbled
Over the heads
Of the non stop
Flow of shoppers
86th Street
Was always
A busy place
Made famous
By the car chase scenes
In the French Connection
Where Popeye Doyle the cop
Played by
The one and only
Gene Hackman
Chases a gangster
The entire length
Of the El
In a commandeered car
That he totally wrecks
In the process
Before cornering
The gangster
And shooting him dead
Just like in real life
At least
Like in real life
Brooklyn style
Have New Yorkers
Ever been known
To alter their
Every day
Just because
Some gangster
Gets blown away
On a subway train
In South Brooklyn?
New Yorkers wouldn’t
Alter their daily routines
Even if it is they themselves
Who are the ones being shot
But I digress
I only bring up the subject
Because my good friend
Bob Sussen
A giant of a man
With an equally
Big heart
Recently passed away
Quite suddenly
Bob was a good friend
And dedicated co-worker
Who punched in for work
Day in and day out
And put in a full
Day’s work
Without complaint
I would often meet him
On the way home
From work
After a long day
And we would both
Be dead tired
And glad to be
Heading home
We would talk the usual
Shop talk
And then
He would close his eyes
For a well deserved nap
Too bad
Bob never got to retire
He always said he
Needed the job
For the health benefits
He would explain
As if he could read
My thoughts
As much as for the salary
I understood
I had to
I am in the same boat
I had always hoped
He’d be able to retire
For at least
A little while
So that he could
Get to know
What it feels like
To just be able
To kick back
And enjoy
A cool summer breeze
On a hot summer day
With an ice cold
In one hand
And a slice of pizza
In the other
While the Phillies
Beat the Mets
Just one more time

Rest in peace
Big fella
Me and all of your friends
Will keep you posted
On the score

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Do Other People Do This?

Do Other People
Do This?
Or maybe it is just me
But I was wondering
Do other people
Do this
Do other people
Divorced people
Grieving people
Still sometimes
Act and live
As if their spouse
Were still with them
Even years after
The spouse has
Passed away or
Vacated the premises?

For instance
When I get in my car
And I put on the seat belt
I look over to the empty
Seat next to me
As if to ask if she
Is comfortable and
While driving
I find myself
Putting my arm
Around the head rest
Of the empty seat
As if she were
Still sitting there
Sometimes I still have
Arguments with her
In my head
Like we used to do
About directions
And the best route
To take

At home
Especially in winter
I make sure to ask
If she is comfortable
Or if she needs anything
As if she were
Still there
Still sitting
In the big blue
Comfy chair that
I bought especially for her
For her birthday
The one she used to like
So much
As she sat and
Watched TV or
Read a book
I would always
Ask her if she would like
Another blanket or
A glass of juice
Or wine
Or another pillow perhaps

In restaurants
I never feel alone
Even if I happen
To be by myself
I always
Picture her
Sitting there
Looking over the menu
As she was accustomed
To doing
Before the waitress
Would bring us
Our cocktails
In restaurants
I never ordered
Her food for her
She always liked
To do that
For herself

She still does

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

I Ran Into Monica

I ran into Monica
The other day
More or less
By accident
On the home bound
We had not seen
Each other
For the past
Several months
Mostly because
I was strapped for cash
And had been purchasing
Cheaper tickets and
Taking the more
Roundabout route home
I was surprised
When she sat down
Next to me
And began talking
As if we’d been
Seeing each other
Every day
“I thought you moved to
New Jersey?” I said
“Isn’t that what you said
That you wanted to do?”
She just shrugged her
Shapely shoulders
While she checked
Her ruby red lipstick
In her little pocket mirror
Snapping the mirror shut
She simply said
That her plans had changed
I was just about to ask
For her phone number
When she suddenly tells me
That she has been dating
A man who lives in
Montgomery County
For the past eleven years
For the past eleven years?
Now she tells me?
Then she tells me
That this mystery man
Is about to be
And that he has promised
To marry her
As soon as the divorce
Becomes final
“You don’t say?” I said
but to tell the truth
I was flabbergasted!
For the past two years or so
Monica had led me to believe
That she was single and
Free as a bird
As single and unattached
As I was
Now she tells me
That she has been
Seeing this still married man
For the past eleven years
As I said before
I was flabbergasted!
Even though
I had always figured her
For having a screw or two loose
That fact
By itself
Was no deal breaker
Since I have always
Been attracted
To emotionally unstable
You might even call it
An occupational hazard
Since I have been
A social worker
For nearly thirty years
But I always made
It a rule
To never date
Women who could be
Clients on my case load
Though it is sometimes
Hard to tell
The difference
Between clients
Currently on my case load
And all the other women
That I happen to bump into
Every day
That said however
I thought that Monica
Might be different
I thought that Monica
Definitely had some
Potential as a future
Mrs. M
Now she tells me
She has been dating
This married guy
For the past eleven years!
As I have previously said
I was flabbergasted!
Then without skipping a beat
Monica next tells me
That she had first met
Her mystery beau
On the bus
During her home bound
Not surprising
She said
While powdering her nose
He is the bus driver
After all

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Science Tells Us

Science tells us
So many
Astonishing things
Of late
That I find it
Very difficult
To keep au courant
Even though
I consider myself
To be
An educated man
For instance
There are more galaxies
In the known universe
Than there are
Grains of sand
On all of the Earth’s beaches
That’s a lot of sand
That’s a lot of galaxies
According to the
US bureau of the census
There are approximately
6.2 billion people
Living on the Earth
Even as we speak
6.2 billion
That’s a lot of people
That’s a lot of mouths to feed
All of us
Trying to make a living
On this speck of dust
Revolving around
A fairly common
Run of the mill
Middle aged star
That we earthlings
Like to call Sol
Plain old Sol
Good old Sol

Just a little closer to Sol
And Earth would be
An airless, waterless
And lifeless
Piece of rock
Somewhat like Mercury
Poor Mercury

A little farther away
And Earth would be
A frozen snowball in space
Somewhat like Neptune
Poor Neptune
But we are
The fortunate one
We are
So very fortunate
To be in the
Goldilocks Zone
Cosmically speaking
Where it is
Not too hot
Not too cold
But more or less
Just right

That is
Unless we continue
To FUBAR the planet
As we are currently
Trying so hard to do
In our own
Inimitable fashion
Aren’t we cute?

These facts
Taken as a whole
Are disturbing enough
And it makes me wonder
Why we all
Have so much
Trouble getting along
With each other
Given that we are
All living
In the same boat
In the same house
Same house
Different bedrooms
A few of us
Are lucky enough
To have
Indoor plumbing
Clean drinking water
Enough food
To make ourselves become
Morbidly obese

Others of us
Are not so lucky
No indoor plumbing
No clean drinking water
Not enough food to eat
To ward off
And a host
Of other diseases
Primarily caused
By not having
Enough food to eat

So why do we all
Have so much
Just getting along?

Is it because
We are not
Just individual people?
When I see you
What am I seeing?
Are you merely
A single unit
Of humanity
Put together
By happenstance?
Or are you
An entire universe
Unto yourself
Billions and billions
Of galaxies of your own
As numerous
As all the grains
Of sand on Earth?

If I greet you
As the universe
Of complexity
That you are
All that is known
And unknown

If I greet you
Knowing that
You contain
Within you
All that is
And glorious
And wonderful
And awe inspiring
Wouldn’t I feel
To regard you
In a whole
New light?

We should
All change
Our names
To reflect
The names
Of all the known
And unknown
That surround us:

Milky Way
You get the idea

Maybe then
We will begin
To really see
Each other
As the
Wholly worthy
That we truly are

We are stardust
We are golden
And we’ve got
To get ourselves
Back to the Garden

Lyrics by Joni Mitchell

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Your Goddamn Betty Davis Eyes

All right
I finally get it
You really
Do not
Anything more
To do with me
I get it
I understand
I am raising
The white flag
Of surrender

Stars shining bright above you
Night breezes seem to whisper "I love you"
Birds singing in the sycamore trees
Dream a little dream of me.

There is one last
Problem that is causing
Me a lot of grief
I still have
Of your old
You know
The ones
We took
We were
So happy

Say nighty-night and kiss me
Just hold me tight and tell me you’ll miss me
While I’m alone and blue as can be
Dream a little dream of me.

Believe me
I have tried
Several different
To either
Tear up the pictures
Or to send them back
To you
But I still have them
Unable to do either

Stars fading but I linger on dear
Still craving your kiss
I’m longing to linger till dawn dear
Just saying this

There is one photo
In particular
The one of you
Simply smiling
Back at me
Through the camera lens
Some balmy autumn day
When we were out and about
Just glad to be together
I just can’t bear
To let the picture go

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me.

I suppose
It’s your eyes
Your big brown
Betty Davis eyes
Yeah that’s
The reason
It’s your eyes!
Damn it!
Your goddamn
Big brown
Betty Davis eyes!

Sweet dreams till sunbeams find you
Sweet dreams that leave all worries behind you
But in your dreams whatever they be
Dream a little dream of me.

Will you please try
Please just try
For old times sake
If for no other reason
To once in a while
Dream a little dream of me?

Stars Shining Bright Above You
By Louis Armstrong

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

The Revolution Has Been Televised

The revolution
Has been televised
And compromised
Pasteurized and
Refried and
Dehumanized and
Dehumidified and
Over rated and
Castrated and
Demonized and
Ionized and
Capitalized and
Capsized and
Captured and
Repackaged and
And repudiated
But mostly it has been
All recognition
All recognition
So please
My brother
My sister
Do not
Your fisted
Hand to me
I am a POW
Of the cause
I am a casualty
Of the war
All of my erstwhile
Have been left
On the editor’s
Cutting room
I have seen
Too many
Of my former
And fellow travelers
And Inmates
Union organizers
Dedicated teachers
Preachers and
Social workers
Social engineers
Aspiring politicians and
Gifted musicians
Poets and
And goat
Berated and
Vilified and
Glorified and
Immobilized and
Specialized and
Neutralized and
Stratified and
Magnified and
Abused and
Like a one legged
Step child
The revolution
Is beyond
Restructuring or
Resurrecting or
It cannot be
Remedied or rescued
It has been
Premeditated and
Over inflated
Berated and
Persuaded and
Intubated and
Coroneted and
Reposed and
Debated and
Celebrated and
Procrastinated and
Defunked and
Clunked and
Up chucked
Cuckolded and
Adulterated and
Raped and
Misidentified and
It has been
Misappropriated and
But mostly
It has just been
Beyond all

Maya Angelou
May well claim
To know
Why the caged
Bird sings
But I’ll be
If I do

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Coming Out Party

I have been meaning
To do this
For a long time now
But I have postponed
And postponed
And procrastinated
For so long
That hiding
That wearing a mask
In public
At all times
To protect
My secret identity
Had become such
Second nature to me
That it has always
Been easier to keep on
Living the lie
And to go on
About my business
On the sly
On the down low
On the QT
Hiding the truth
From even my closest
Preferring the double life
Of living in the shadows
Even In broad daylight
Fearful that my
True nature
Might one day
Be accidentally exposed
By some fluke
Some thoughtless gesture
Some seemingly innocent
Slip of the tongue
Or some chance encounter
In a darkened bar
Or in some sleazy
Motel room
Out of fear
The fear that
Other people
Strangers and friends alike
Might pass judgment
On me
Or that perhaps my neighbors
Might begin to shun me
Not to mention people
Whom I have known
All of my life
Not to mention
Of my own family
My own flesh and blood
Who might misunderstand
And that somehow
I would be diminished
In their eyes
Or that my truth
Would become their shame
But the pressures
Of living with the lie
Of leading this double life
Has become unbearable
An intolerable burden
Whose sheer weight has been
Cutting into my shoulders
For far too long
It is time
Way past time
To finally
Put the burden down
It is time
Way past time
For me to finally
Straighten my back
My spine
To be able
To finally stand up
Tall and proud
To suck some air
Into my lungs
And to work up
The courage
The hope
The determination
And to summon
All of the self love
Self esteem
And support
That I can muster
To finally be able
To look the world
Squarely in the eye
And to be able
To proclaim
And without
That yes
I am
And have always been
For better
Or worse:

A poet

And all I ask
Of you now
Now that you finally
Know the truth
Is that people
Not rush to judgment
For I am not so very different
From yourselves
And we do have
Being human
In common
After all
Is said and done
But please feel free
To hate me
If you absolutely must
If you feel that
I have deliberately
Concealed my true self
For all these long years
To which I must plead
Guilty as charged
And if by some chance
My coming out of the closet
Has confused you
Or hurt you
In ways that only
You can explain
Please know that
It was not in my heart
To dissemble
Or to deceive
I was merely
Trying to survive
In a hostile world
That on the whole
Does not give a fig
For the good
The true
Or the beautiful

Can someone please say

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hats Off To Murray

Murray Handwerker
who helped grow
Nathan's Famous
from his father's
Coney Island
hot dog stand
into a national franchise
died Saturday (5/14/11)
at his home
in Palm Beach Gardens
He was 89
He may be gone,
but his legend
will live forever.
RIP Murray!
Two dogs to go
with mustard and relish

I used to love
To go to Nathan’s
But especially
After taking a date
To the movies
Especially in the winter
With all the clouds of steam
And fragrances
Rising from the vats
Of corn
Roast beef
Chinese food
Hot dogs
Fish cakes
And those
mouth wateringly
French fries
With plenty of beer
And soda pop
On tap to wash
It all down

Inside Nathan's
glass enclosed doors
It was warm
As toast
Even if outside
was Antartica
But it didn’t matter
We were safe
And full of good food
And possibly in love
And we would sip
Piping hot coffee
Mixed with hip flask
And we would talk
About God and religion
About our parents
Who never seemed to get it
Or understand our teen age angst
About Lincoln’s chances against
And about the atomic bomb
And the coming end
Of the world
About the chances
of growing old
Or living to the ripe old age
Of thirty
About the need
And the practicality
Of having a back yard
Fall out shelter
Assuming that
You actually had
A back yard
And about whether Nixon
Would beat Kennedy
And about Jackie’s clothes
And hairdo
And about our
Favorite poets
And writers
Records, music and magazines
About a new pop group
Called the Beatles
Who were coming to America
For the very first time
To be on the Ed Sullivan show
And about how maybe we could go
If we could get some tickets
And about fashions
and hair styles
About the new cars
With all the shiny chrome
And fancy fins
About our hopes and dreams
for the future
Just in case
there was actually going
To be a future
About actors and actresses
And Hollywood
Wondering if Annette Funicello
Was really dating Frankie Avalon
And about what their children
Would look like
If they were going
To have children
And about what our children
Might look like
If we were going
To have children
And about the movie
We had just seen
And about school
Our subjects
Our courses
Our schedules
And about our favorite
And most hated
And we would
gossip about our friends
And about who was dating whom
And about who was breaking up
And we’d decide
Where we were going
To spend
The rest of the night
My place or yours
And about the odds of slipping
Past the guard
Of snooping
suspicious parents
If we were so inclined
But there was no rush
The evening
was still young
And so were we

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mixed Feelings About Hitler

I have very mixed feelings
As to how I feel about
Adolph Hitler
Thanks to HBO
History channel
One could be forgiven
For thinking that
Hitler is more popular today
Than ever before
I am very familiar
With his face
His features
His voice
His gestures
His pomposity
His love of uniforms
And fancy black limousines
And of course
His ridiculous
Charlie Chaplin moustache
I am told
By the historians
That Hitler
Had a rather bad case of
Meaning that he was given
To fits of farting
I often wondered what
His entourage had to say
About his fits of farting
Although I am sure
That Gobbels would have said
That the Fuhrer’s farts
Were all part of his master plan
For world conquest
And world domination
It must have been embarrassing
For Hitler’s entourage
To have to pretend not to smell
The Fuhrer’s farts
Perhaps they laughed at him
Behind his back
Or else they made sure
To not stand downwind
Of the Fuhrer’s sphincter
It has always been
Quite amazing to me
How such a comical
And obviously psychotic
Individual as Hitler
Could ever have seduced
One of the most civilized
Nations on Earth
To become a nation
Of Barbaric beasts
Willing to commit
Mass murder
On a global scale
Perhaps there is a little bit
Of Adolph Hitler
In all of us
A beastly side
To our otherwise
Saintly selves
Hitler was said to be fond
Of small children
Or at least he feigned
To be so in public outings
He was said to have loved
His German Shepherd dog
Named Blondie
And he was often photographed
Playing affectionately with her
A simple man
A man of the people
Who loved to play
With small children and his dog
Was this charade
Merely for public consumption
Of was there a part of him
That harbored some vestige
Of human kindness
History tells us
That Hitler was responsible
For the murder of some
Fifty million people
Including six or seven million
In the gas chambers
Of Auschwitz and Bergen- Belsen
According to the historical account
Of Hitler’s demise
We have been told
That Hitler blew his brains out
Rather than fall prisoner to
The Allied soldiers
Who were finally able
To kick in the steel door
Of his Berlin bunker
Hitler was afraid of ending up
Like his friend and ally
Benito Mussolini
Who was strung up
By his thumbs
By Italian partisans
Who captured him
While he was trying
To make good his escape
Dressed as a lowly private
Also Hitler was said to fear
Being put in a cage
And held up to public ridicule
As he most surely
Would have been
Had he not put a bullet
Into his own brain
The Russians are said
To have retrieved his skull
Which they keep
In an old shoe box
Deep inside the bowels
Of the Kremlin
It is reported that Stalin
Was especially fond
Of playing with the remains
Of Hitler’s skull
Sometimes using
The former Fuhrer’s
Cranium as an ashtray
This last bit
Of alleged historical information
May or may not
Have been true
However if it were true
It would be quite ironic
Because it is well known
That Hitler was strongly
Opposed to the smoking of
“It is bad for the lungs”
He would often say
When admonishing
His subordinates
For smoking cigarettes
Though evidently
He had no such
Reservations about the
Ill effects of inhaling Zyklon B
On millions of Jews
During what Hitler
Liked to call
The extermination phase
Of the Final Solution

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

First Do No Harm

I‘ve been sitting
For so long
At my desk job
Working for the City
At my good
City job
That I not only
Have a permanent crease
In my right and wrong
My doctor suspects
I have a blood clot
In my right leg
From sitting so long
Like when you sit
On a long plane trip
For hours and hours
And you develop
Deep vein thrombosis
(Try saying that fast three times)
I had to go for a Doppler exam
The sonogramologist
Was a woman
Who seemed to know
Her business
Up and down my leg
She went
Listening for blood clots
Tickling my groin
With her probes
I could hear the blood
Gurgling on the Doppler
It sounded like canned laughter
It sounded like water
Sloshing around in a jug
Gurgle, gurgle, slosh
Gurgle, gurgle, slosh
I wanted to shout
Man overboard!
I was getting seasick
For a moment
Gurgle, gurgle, slosh
And then she was done
You have a superficial
(Meaning superficial vein)
Blood clot
That needs attention
My primary doctor
Wanted to put me on
An anti-coagulant medication
But I refused
I had read the side effects
On WedMD
And the side effects were
Worse than the disease
Hey Doc!
What ever happened
To your pledge
To do no harm?
Yeah he said
You could die from this
Oh yeah?
Yeah, well, maybe I will
And maybe I won’t
I said to the Doc
So maybe
We’ll just have
To wait and see
But I am not about
To start taking
A whole new family
Of drugs that can
Basically wipe out my
Whole immune system
Just on your say so alone
I at least want
A second opinion
Well, you had better decide
Real fast
And he wrote in my
Medical file
That he had explained to me
That I could possibly get
A pulmonary embolism
From this wayward
Blood clot
And he advised me about
Taking Coumadin
(Rhymes with Paladin
Have Gun Will Travel)
And that the patient
Meaning me,
Refused to take his advice
So if the patient
Meaning me
Should happen to die
From a pulmonary embolism
Anytime in the near future
He, meaning the Doc,
Could not and should not
Be blamed
For such a possible outcome
Doc was worried first and foremost
About a possible lawsuit
For medical malpractice
So he was covering his ass
Just in case
I kick the bucket
And keel over dead
I do have an appointment
To see him in another
Four weeks
Just in case
I should I happen to survive
That long

In the meantime
I will be seeing
Yet another specialist
One of Doc’s MD cronies
And no doubt partner
In crime
And I will
Probably have to get
Yet another Doppler exam
(I bet those things cost a small fortune!)
But at least I will
Have gotten
A second opinion
As to how to proceed
By the time
I have to revisit
Primary Doc
And go another
Fifteen rounds
With him
I have to admit
That I have been feeling
Pretty punk lately
But that is hardly news
So I’m just
Going to go home
Tonight after work
Take a nice hot shower
Put on my comfy PJs
And curl up
On the couch
Next to my pet cat
And watch some HBO
Kat’s all that I have left now
Since I had to put her brother
To sleep
About two weeks ago
When I asked the vet
What it was that was
Wrong with him
He just said
It could be
Just about
So might as well
Just chalk it up to old age
Just chalk it up to old age
Just chalk it up to old age
So good bye
My dear little fella
I never dreamed
How much
Losing you
Was going to hurt

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Chow Ho Fun

I have never ever
Ordered or eaten
Chow Ho Fun
In a Chinese restaurant
In all my 64 years
I have eaten and ordered
Just about everything else
On the standard Chinese menu
But so far
I have never ever
Ordered or eaten
Chow Ho Fun
I don’t even know
What it looks like
Or smells like
Or tastes like
I cannot tell you
If I like it or not
Though speaking from experience
There is very little
On the standard
Chinese restaurant menu
That I do not like
Of course I have my favorites
Like everyone else
I must have had enough
Won Ton soup by now
To fill the South China Sea
I love my shrimp rolls
And egg rolls
I like my Shrimp Lo Mein
And I like my barbeque spare ribs
Especially with the hot home made
Yellow mustard
I like the fortune cookies
Slightly lemon flavored
With cheerful prognostications
Of my future health and success
Providing of course
That I keep eating Chinese food
Tonight just for fun
I may very well order
The Chow Ho Fun
Just to satisfy my curiosity
To try something new
For a change
To boldly go
Where I have not yet gone before
Up to this moment in time
I love the way
The Chinese waitress
Calls out my orders
In her native Chinese
Her name is Emily
And I can only guess
At her age
Maybe between twenty
And twenty five
She is on the short side
With darling chubby cheeks
That I would just love
To kiss and squeeze
I flirt with her
At every opportunity
I want to buy her a present
Perhaps some piece
Of oriental jade jewelry
Perhaps for next Christmas
I think she will like that
I think she will be pleased
Anyway she has earned it
She works like a slave
Like a Chinese coolie
Working non stop
Seven days a week
Perhaps she is a slave
Like the sex slaves
That we read about
From time to time
In the newspapers
Perhaps she is working off
Her passage fare
At loan shark rates
That will take her
The better part of her
Natural life to pay
She speaks at least
Three languages
That I know of
Chinese, English and Spanish
As she shouts out
Her orders to the Chinese cook
Who never speaks in English
But he can sure
Whip up a good Chinese meal
In a hurry
I love to watch him
Manhandle the large wok pans
While he mixes the pre-mixed
Ingredients and tosses them
In the air
While the oils
Sizzle and pop
And the flames lick
Higher and hotter
As if whipped
Into a frenzy
By the cook’s
Masterful machinations
In the winter
The air fills with clouds
Of hot steam
Until the windows of the restaurant
Sweat like giant elephant leaves
In some tropical rain forest
Emily I would free you
If I could
Emily I would make you my wife
If I could
If she could bear the thought
Of marrying me
Not that I will ever
Actually ask her out
Ask her out?
That’s a joke
When I do
Try to speak to her
I get so tongue tied
I can barely
Get myself
To order some
Chow Ho Fun

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Please Do Not Decapitate Me

Please do not
Decapitate me
O my darling
Not on the day
That we’ve wed
Please do not
Decapitate me
O my darling
Til I shoot
Frank Wilson dead

Frank Wilson once stole
My bicycle
Way back when we
Were just kids
He’d been gone
For many hours
Left me nothing
But tire skids

The night sky
Had turned dark
But still I waited
All the same
Most of the other kids
Had left the park
But I needed
Someone to explain

The morning dogs
Had just begun to bark
To chase the roosters away
When we all suddenly heard
A mournful donkey
Begin to pray

Instinctively I somehow knew
There’d been a terrible crash
So we all began to follow
The trail of shattered glass

I ran with my friends
To see the damage
When I saw what Frank
Had done
He’d crashed my bike
Under the bus wheels
That fish eyed
Fish mouthed
Son of a gun

Of my bike
It was a total wreck
Hardly nothing left
To see
Just a twisted pile
Of useless dreck
Where once a beautiful bike
Used to be

Frank never did say
He was sorry
For crashing my bike
Into the bus
He just showed me
His dangling broken arm
And his bloody wounds
Full of pus

I vowed to get even
With him
Some future miserable day
Because every dog’s ship
Is sure to come in
And debtors
Have got to pay

So please do not
Decapitate me
O my darling
Not on this day
That we’ve wed
Please do not
Decapitate me
O my darling
Til I've shot
Frank Wilson dead

Move 'em on, head 'em up,
Head 'em up, move 'em out,
Move 'em on, head 'em out
Set 'em out, ride 'em in
Ride 'em in, let 'em out,
Cut 'em out, ride 'em in

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Osama is Dead, Long Live Obama

Osama is Dead
Long Live Obama
Like DNA
Linked together
On the double helix
Of destiny
And history
Barack meaning blessing
Because he is a blessing
To his people
Osama meaning lion
Lions are known
To kill the young cubs
Of the other male lions
So as to become
The sole Alpha lion
Of the pride
Osama bin Laden
Tried to do this
He tried to kill all
Of the lion cubs
Of his perceived enemies
To become the alpha lion
Of the entire world
Instead he became
A mass murderer
Like Stalin and Hitler
Though he dressed
And talked
Like an imam
Like a mufti
And a holy man
He left a trail of blood
As deep
As the Amazon river
As deep
As the Nile
Barack means blessing
Because he is a blessing to his people
A river of blessing to his people

Linked together like DNA
On the double helix
Of history and destiny
Osama is dead
Long live Obama

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011

Monday, May 2, 2011

Gone Fishing

It was by far
The best thing
That I could do
For myself
To go fishing
I was desperate
To do some
After such
A long and miserable
But it was all that
I could do
To pull
My bloated carcass
Out of bed
At 4am in the morning
In order
To catch
The 8:00 am boat
This time there was to
To be no afternoon boat
So if I missed the 8 o’clock
I would be piss out of luck

I was keyed up
Like a child
Waiting for Santa
But I could not
Find the motivation
To get going
I wanted to roll over
And go back to sleep
For maybe two more hours
Or maybe even three
So I just lay there
Stuck in my bed
In a kind of stupor
Neither quite asleep
Nor quite awake
Unable to stir
Myself enough
Or jump start myself
To get out of bed
And get my butt in gear
I checked the clock
4:30 am
Half an hour
Had already been eaten up
By my damned procrastination
And then I had a thought
I am a fan of Sixer’s basketball
I asked myself
What would Sixer’s
Star shooting guard
Andre Iguadola do
In this situation
If he were me?
Would he just lay here
Like a lump of clay
Or would he dribble down the court
To go in for
An easy lay-up shot?

I kept repeating his name
Iguadola, Iguadola, Iguadola
As if I were
A fan in the stands
Rooting him on
Finally I managed
To get to my feet
My eyes still half shut
I repeated my mantra
Iguadola, Iguadola, Iguadola
I stumbled to the bathroom
And splashed some cold water
On my face
Iguadola, Iguadola, Iguadola
I managed to pull on some clothes
And socks and old sneakers
I grabbed my fishing gear
And big white bucket
For the many fish
I was confident
That I would catch
Iguadola, Iguadola, Iguadola
I made it to the car
Put the car into gear
And pulled a hard U turn
To start my journey
To the shore
To my shore
To the New Jersey shore
Where the fish
Were waiting
And new friends
Were waiting to be met
The road was deserted
Except for a few hardy souls
I supposed the others
Were up early
To start their morning shifts
Too bad for them
I was on my way
To the Jersey shore
To catch some fish
And going to work
Was the last thing
On my mind
The next time
I run into Andre Iguadola
Please remind me to thank him

Philadelphia, Pa. 2011