Tuesday, May 31, 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

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