John and I have worked together a long time. We are the godfathers of each other’s children. Every year we get together with a group of guys for a fishing trip and we don’t shave for a week.
We are basically the same type of policeman but we like to kid each other. John kids me about how I carry three guns but we both know it might save John’s life someday since he only carries one gun.
We have kicked in some doors together but mostly we just come to work and go home. I would not say we are cynical but after seeing the underbelly of humanity we don’t believe in the Easter Bunny.
We investigated a death on West Wayne Street. A nice two-story townhouse with a parking space in back that was empty so we parked there. We drank coffee in the unmarked car for a while and then went in.
There was smell of smoke on the first floor and balled up wads of burned paper scattered all over. The fire department had been there. Now there were just uniformed police and meat wagon guys.
A body was in the second floor bedroom, a white man about forty named Robert Wisniewski. The consensus of the uniformed police was that he died from inhaling smoke.
Since liquor bottles were lying around in the bedroom we thought maybe he got drunk, passed out, and inhaled smoke from the burned up wads of paper. But who was it that burned those wads of paper?
We found three pages downloaded from an internet dating site, each page with a girl’s site profile, her picture, and her name, address, and phone number written by Robert Wisniewski. Great! Fantastic!
We talked to people in the townhouse complex. Did Robert Wisniewski have a family? No. Did he have a car? Yes. What kind of car? One guy said an old muscle car like maybe a Dodge Charger.
The large number of burned paper wads was the odd part. Somebody put time and effort into that and it made a lot of smoke. But burning the house down did not seem to be the idea.
Back in the car we looked at the dating site pages. Three good-looking white girls, Shari, Lexi, and Joy. After we read the profiles and had a few laughs John called Shari and surprisingly she picked up.
John said, “Shari, this is Detective Cronin from the police. Do you know Robert Wisniewski?” She said, “Um, not really, we just went on one date.” “Well, we’d like to come by and speak with you.”
Shari lived in a typical single girl’s one bedroom on Surf Street with photos on the refrigerator and shit. She was blonde, medium height, sunny disposition and a decent body as far as I could tell.
We introduced ourselves. Shari offered us coffee. I wasn’t sure about her body because she had on a giant sweater that went down to her knees. No shoes, fluffy socks. We declined the coffee.
I said. “Shari, Robert Wisniewski is dead and it looks like there was some foul play.” “Oh, that’s horrible!” “Well, it happens sometimes,” I said with a laugh. “You went out with Robert Wisniewski?”
I showed her the dating site page. “We found this in his apartment so I gather you met through an online matchmaking site.” She started to cry. “It seems so sordid and sleazy now! I’m so embarrassed!”
Then she got control of herself and said, “We went to Greek Town but it was hard to talk because the restaurant was so noisy. I could tell he liked to drink but I’m not much of a drinker.”
I asked Shari if Robert Wisniewski drove her to Greek Town. She said yes he did. “Do you recall what kind of car he had?” She said, “I’m sorry, I really don’t recall.” “That’s okay, no problem.”
John and I looked at each other. We stood up. I took out my handcuffs. John said, “I’m sorry Shari but we have to arrest you for the murder of Robert Wisniewski. Why did you do it?”
The expression on her face was priceless. We laughed and when she saw us laughing she laughed so hard she got out of breath. John gave Shari his business card and we left.
Back in the car I called the next girl, Lexi. She didn’t pick up but we went over there anyway since it wasn’t too far and you never know what you’re going to find.
Lexi must have had some bucks since her address was an apartment building on North Sherman Road with a doorman, a black kid, behind a desk in the lobby.
Being a black kid he very quickly picked up that we were cops and with that out of the way I mentioned Gene Girolometto of the doorman’s union whom I happened to know quite well.
The name Gene Girolometto brought a smile to the black kid’s face. The kid must have had something on the ball or else Gene Girolometto wouldn’t assign a black kid to Sherman Road.
Was the black kid fucking women in the building? Most likely he was. In any case when we mentioned Lexi it obviously rang a bell. I said, “Do me a favor, call Lexi on the house phone.”
When Lexi answered the house phone the black kid said, “There are two gentlemen here to see you from the police department.” I motioned for the black kid to give me the phone.
I said, “Hi Lexi, this is Detective Coyne and I’m here with Detective Cronin. We’d like to speak with you about Robert Wisniewski. Remember him? The online dating guy?”
Like Shari, Lexi had only a dim memory of Robert Wisniewski. Unlike Shari, Lexi asked if she could come down instead of us going up because her place was a mess right now.
“No problem,” I said and returned the phone to the black kid. John and I then bid him farewell and went to wait for Lexi by the elevator. We just waited. No words were spoken.
This was police work, talking and waiting. You have to like talking and you have to get used to waiting. Now we were waiting and in another minute we would be talking again.
Should we have been a little more inquisitive with Shari, the first girl, because she might be the one who lit the paper wads on fire? No, because Shari had obviously not done that.
Should we have wondered why Lexi, the second girl, wanted to come down instead of us going up? No, because there were a million possible reasons for that and you could go nuts.
Policemen learn not to overly speculate about things but just to move things along and see if things fall into place. Finally the elevator door opened and Lexi came out.
White woman, about five nine, thirties, dark hair, looked grumpy, like if her life depended on it she couldn’t crack a smile. Very different from Shari’s sunny disposition in that respect.
Running shoes, black stretch pants, sweaty black t-shirt, messy hair, but still a good body from what I could see. Possibly even an excellent body. Her breasts were her best feature.
She launched into a long-winded explanation of how she was in the middle of her treadmill workout and was not prepared for visitors at nine o’clock on a Saturday morning.
The long-winded explanation continued about how she owned a public relations business which was not a nine-to-five job and how precious her workout time was.
John said, “With the demands your job places on you, you probably don’t have time to meet guys. That must be why you got on the website and met Robert Wisniewski, right, Lexi?”
“Right,” she said. “But I only saw him once.” “Did you go to Greek Town?” I asked. She gave me a look of surprise like, “Are you psychic?” I said, “Just a lucky guess.”
“But Mr. Wisniewski is no longer with us,” I continued. “His corpse was found in his house when the smoke detectors went off. Would you know anything about that, Lexi?”
She laughed. “Yeah, I hate Greek food so I fed him a poisoned octopus. Just kidding, boys. If this is what you came to talk about I can’t help you. I know nothing about it.”
She wanted to get back to her treadmill. No problem. She kept herself in shape. “But there is still one way you can help,” I said. “What kind of car did he have?”
“Car? A Dodge Charger. He was proud of it but it was not my type of vehicle.
I like luxury cars, clothes, and restaurants. When I go to Vegas I stay at the Mandarin Oriental or the Bellagio.”
As experienced policemen we saw that Lexi, like Shari, was in no way responsible for Robert Wisniewski’s death. I gave Lexi my business card and we went on our way.
John and I have a system where, if one of us wants to call a woman, he will give that woman his business card and then the other one of us knows to back off.
When John gave Shari, the first girl, his business card I knew to back off and then John knew to back off when I gave my business card to Lexi, the second girl.
In general as luck would have it we have different tastes in women. So when John laid claim to Shari I was cool and he was cool when I laid claim to Lexi by giving her my business card.
Very rarely a situation will arise where both of us are attracted to the same woman. Then some discussion might ensue but that is unusual and we are grownups about it.
It’s the same way with driving the unmarked car or making phone calls. One day John drives and the next day I drive. Or if John made the last phone call, then I make the next one.
I was driving when we left Lexi and John called Joy, the last of the dating site girls. She picked up. “Hi Joy, this is Detective Cronin from the police. I’ve got some bad news.”
She said, “Who? What?” John had her on speaker. We were laughing. She sounded a little woozy, like maybe we just woke her up. “Robert Wisniewski is dead!” John shouted.
Then he said, “We’re coming right over!” and he cut her off. It was funny. Who knows what she thought. Maybe she would call the police. We were laughing about it.
Joy’s place was the top floor of a three-flat. She was around thirty, brunette, a bit on the heavy side, slightly disheveled, clad in blue jeans. Good body. Her ass was her best feature.
Joy let us in and after a brief exchange of pleasantries around the dining room table we made the nature of our visit known. Then there was the usual shock and gnashing of teeth.
There was also the usual dinner in Greek Town story, the disappointment Joy experienced around the whole drinking thing, and her ending the evening early in order to return home.
“Excuse me,” I said, “could I use the bathroom?” “Yes, it’s just down the hall.” “Thank you.” I did have to pee and after peeing I checked out the medicine cabinet. Nothing special there.
Returning to the dining room I made a side trip into Joy’s bedroom and noticed some keys on the dresser. One of the keys had a fancy Dodge Charger logo on it.
Back in the dining room I said, “You’re not working today, are you, Joy?” “No,” she said, “I work downtown nine-to-five Monday through Friday like a million other good little sheep.”
I nodded sympathetically and said, “Where do you work?” “I’m the office manager for a group of ophthalmologists called Paul Hurwitz M.D. and Associates Vision Care Center.”
At this point John knew something was up or else why would I be acting as if I gave a shit where she worked? I would only do that if I was playing cat and mouse with her.
I said, “When you went to Greek Town with Robert Wisniewski, did he drive?” “Yes, he did.” “But sometimes people take cabs to Greek Town.” “No, he drove his car.”
She gave me a puzzled and nervous look. John was having a hard time keeping a straight face. He knew I was playing cat and mouse but didn’t know where the cat and mouse was going.
“Do you remember what kind of car he had?” “No, I really don’t.” “Maybe it was a Dodge Charger.” “Maybe it was.” I took the keys out of my pocket and put them on the dining room table.
“God damn it!” she said. “Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” She was pounding on the table. She was blubbering. What if she got hysterical? I sat down at the table. “What happened, Joy?”
“Fuck!” “Joy….” “Fuck!” “Joy…” She looked at me. Deer in the headlights. “What happened, Joy?” It was an intimate moment. I started to get hard. But she would have to do about eight years.
“He pissed me off so much!” she said. “A man should realize that when a woman goes back to his apartment with him the woman rightfully expects to get fucked!”
I didn’t want her to blow up again. I looked at John. It was his turn. “He wouldn’t fuck you?” John said. “He couldn’t fuck me! His prick wouldn’t work! He was too drunk!”
Now silence reigned except for her blubbering. We let her cry it out. Finally I said, “When he couldn’t fuck you, you went around lighting wads of paper?” “Yes.” “Why?” “To make a mess.”
That was it. She lit wads of paper to make a mess. It didn’t occur to her that Robert Wisniewski, passed out on the bed upstairs, might die from the smoke. That’s why it was definitely not a murder charge.
What charge would it be? Some sort of arson maybe. John and I did not need to sort that out. The Dodge Charger was in the forefront of our minds. It was parked down the street from Joy’s apartment.
Over the next few weeks several things happened. We determined the book value of the Dodge Charger and we offered to take it off the hands of Robert Wisniewski’s next of kin.
On the one hand the next of kin wanted to recoup what the Dodge Charger was worth. On the other hand they saw Robert Wisniewski as a bum and the Dodge Charger had his cooties.
Ultimately a desire on the part of the next of kin for the whole thing to be over and done with played into our hands. We paid them ten percent below book for the Dodge Charger.
After we had a little work done on the car we were able to sell it for like three times book. We shared the proceeds with our lieutenant and we took everyone else out to dinner.
John wound up fucking Shari and I fucked Lexi a couple of times. A lot of women are turned on by policemen if you’re in halfway decent shape, which John and I actually are.
They live retired, and then
they doze away their times in
drowsinesses and brownstudies.
-- Johnson’s Dictionary
She was the love of my lie,
The lie of my love. Oh God,
I can’t think straight anymore.
She was the love of my life!
Convoluted or plum contradictory
Are a lion’s feelings when it confronts
A hippopotamus. Tell me about it!
Oh God, I can’t think straight anymore.
Lies, love, laughter, lucubration,
Laceration, lasciviousness, lachrimosity --
Is that a word? I got news for you, pal,
It is now! I can’t think straight anymore.
Oh God, I can’t think straight anymore.
She was the hippopotamus of my love,
I was the lion in her eyes. She laughed
So hard I thought she would bust a gut!
How else to keep alive the spirit
Of sans souci, the flame of youth,
But with sexual intercourse?
That sphere of glowing delight
To which, once I acceded to it,
The luminous channel has never
Closed to me – as all my work
Is wrought there, charity obliges
That I advertise its pleasures and
Fairly attribute the curious vitality
Derived there that each night
Invents names and faces for me
As if my heart were still a boy’s
And my pen were the prick of one.
Today as I stared at the ceiling
Meditating on a video seen last night
Of Frank O’Hara reading his poems,
Any prior ambivalence about him
Deliquesced as I recalled the affection
O’Hara showed to a cat in the video,
Which, as he typed with one hand,
He gently stroked with the other.
While much has been made of
O’Hara’s adroit verbal skewering of
Anyone who bugged him, in the video
He patiently tolerated the loquacious
Painter and filmmaker Alfred Leslie
Nor did he exclaim, as we might expect,
‘Blow winds, crack your cheeks’
Or some other cultivated riposte.
But here’s the nub! I am obsessed
With Patsy Southgate, the breathtaking
Miss America-type beauty with whom
O’Hara had a sexual dalliance and when
I feel closer to him, I feel closer to her,
As if, through him, I can touch her
As he touched her, as he stroked the cat,
So it makes great sense! Oh, my love!
Approaching, nearing, curious...
Is that you? Fuck! Well, it’s not exactly
A surprise nor a happy one either --
But wait! Look! Why, it’s Old Fezziwig!
He owned a chain of same-day cleaners,
A wholesale-to-the-public auto parts store,
A Montana cow-and-calf operation,
And the Star-Lite drive-in movie theater
On Mannheim Road out by the airport,
The dear man! But what’s that you say?
It’s not him at all? Old Fezziwig is a shot
Of Old Crow, a glass of Old Grand-Dad,
Of Old Smuggler, of Old Rarity, Pig’s Nose,
Pittyvatch, or Loch Lomand, and it’s
Only you and I now? Fuck! Fuck a duck!
How ironic that, as intellectuals and aesthetes, those of us who live by words may underestimate the power of the words we speak or write. Just the other day I was in pleasant conversation with a talented versifier when he happened to mention the name "Lilith." Although he was referring to the radical feminist magazine that may or may not still exist, there is no doubt that the real Lilith still exists just as she has since the time of Adam. And to utter her name without quickly pretending to spit twice over one's right shoulder is asking for serious trouble.
Lilith (spit, spit!) as some of you may know, was Adam's first wife. When she affronted the Creator by insisting on "unorthodox" relations with her husband, she was banished from Eden and spent the next 500 years at the bottom of the ocean. Finally she surfaced, determined to wreak as much havoc as possible in human domestic affairs.
When Lilith hears a man mention her name, she surmises (quite correctly!) that a secret wish for her appearance exists in the speaker. Of course, as with any repressed wish, the poor fool may not be aware of his own desire. That's why Lilith always appears in disguise. The new temp at the office, the Fedex delivery girl, the grad student in need of help with her thesis -- any or all of these may be Lilith. But those potential incarnations are relatively easy to resist. Lilith is much more dangerous when she manifests as a man's own wife!
If a woman appears and sounds like his wife, a man -- and especially a poet, naive by nature -- may assume the woman is his wife indeed: "If it looks like a duck..." etc. He may also forget that he spoke the forbidden name that morning in Starbucks. Well, he's in for a surprise -- and the worst part is, Lilith is dangerously addictive. Not only is she erotically exciting but she's also an excellent conversationalist.
There are two solutions for this problem, both recommended by the ancient sages of the Talmud. First, don't speak the name in the first place! Just refer to the Bad Girl and any educated person will know who you're talking about. Second, create a secret code with your wife that only the two of you know -- an arbitrary phrase like "plate of shrimp" from the film Repo Man. If you sense anything unusual in your conjugal affairs, demand the password. If it's not forthcoming, fill a bucket with water and pour it on the demon woman. Lilith has hated water ever since her five hundred years in the ocean.
The images above are just two of Lilith's infintely various disguises. On top, of course, is Veronica from Archie Comics; below is a seemingly innocous dental hygenist. Poets! Choose Betty, not Veronica -- and floss daily!
Why, it’s nothing more than this:
To see the finish in the start, the end
In the beginning, and in the acorn,
The oak tree. Michael Jordan was cut
From his ninth grade basketball team
But God saw six NBA championships
In Michael Jordan’s future and he saw
How Harold Hamm the youngest
Of a sharecropper’s thirteen children
Born in the middle of nowhere would
Become an oil-rich billionaire and
He sees how girls that are funny-looking
In the fifth grade can become supermodels
Through the Ugly Duckling Syndrome.
Leah’s shocking death in 1954, then Lou and I
Alone in the apartment labyrinth, four bedrooms,
Four and a half baths, so-called maid’s room,
So-called library, so-called butler’s pantry,
Fully carpeted, thirty-five hundred square feet,
Walls like granite, yet cancer had entered
Here as in “The Masque of the Red Death.”
Marble nymphs and cupids, brass candlesticks,
Lights in the closets turning on automatically
Whenever the closet doors were opened,
Here a wall-mounted antique brass lantern
From a 19th century horse-drawn fire engine,
There an amoeba-shaped glass tabletop on
A battleship-gray hunk of shattered driftwood.
Past the unused fireplace and unplayed piano
Each night after eating soup or cottage cheese
Lou and I to the oak-paneled television room
Wended our way, drawn by electromagnetic
Force of the floor-model Zenith on whose screen
There churned and roiled liquid reds and blues
Of flawed 1950s color television technology.
Passing judgment on Lou, blaming Lou, hating
Him for Leah’s painful end-stage renal failure
Of uric acid seeping through her skin, seeing
Him as another blundering President Eisenhower
As we in silence watched George Burns & Gracie Allen,
Then The Lawrence Welk Show and at ten o’clock
The Tonight Show Starring Jack Paar would come on.
Yet Lou’s own death was not far off. O my father,
How sharper than a serpent’s tooth it is to have been
A thankless child. I will watch Jack Paar on YouTube
For three hours, I will dance to Lawrence Welk and the
Champagne Music Makers, I will wear Bermuda shorts,
I will eat a bowl of cottage cheese and sour cream
With crackers crumbled up in it, I will fart, I will snore.
Every last inning is sad when one thinks
How games, in theory, could go on forever,
Scores tied in perpetuity, mitts handed down
From father to son across the generations.
But grieve not, for in the Upper Worlds
Will be no horror of the last, as Johnson
Decried it, no last kisses, no final fucks –
And, say, that’s a toughie, isn’t it?
David, fading, cold to the touch of Abishag
The Shunammite, and she the hottest girl
In Israel. Sternly his court regarded this:
If the King knew her not, the King had to die.
But that same night he fucked her in paradise!
He fucked her brains out! He’s still fucking her!
Where were you when televisions
Multiplied in American homes
And pastel-colored cars had fins
On which at least once a boy
Chasing a ball stabbed himself
and the fins, like kings, died out?
I lived when Eisenhower’s golfing
And mumbled press conferences
Affronted the intelligentsia whose
Worship of Stevenson blossomed
Into the miracle of Jack Kennedy’s
Televised White House cello recitals.
In the doghouse was an expression
Extremely common in those days.
You might hear a man who forgot
The anniversary of his marriage
Forty years ago refer to himself
As in the doghouse, for example.
People said, On the warpath.
They said, You’re cooking with gas.
They said, Fish out of water --
Jump on the bandwagon – A fly in
The ointment – The jury is still out --
He’s always blowing his own horn --
Or how about this? Eke lullaby,
My loving boy, thy lusts relent --
Four hundred and fifty years ago
A man wrote that poem to his penis.
Can you imagine it happening today?
I can. I’m a board certified urologist.
Look, the Batting Gods in silhouette
Against the sky! Ruth, Williams,
Gehrig, and Foxx, their war clubs
Such as no man can lift today,
Their statistics, their versatility
As evinced by the major league
Pitching experience of Ruth
And Foxx, and Williams too
Pitched in high school. Gehrig?
The first baseman shrugged off
Broken bones in his hands to
Swing with homerun power.
Look! The Batting Gods! And look!
The Sex Goddesses of the 1920s!
That day in 1965 as Julie Christie
Seduced the pool cleaning man
I sequestered myself behind
A cactus plant for the duration.
It was quickly done. Palm Springs!
This was before the traffic got
So horrible and lawn sprinklers
Rendered the naturally dry
Desert air oppressively humid.
Later Julie and I shared laughs
Over cocktails rehashing her
Recent film “Doctor Chicago”
As we hilariously re-Christied it.
But wait. Do I wake or sleep?
His real name was Tony but
God help you if you called him Tony.
You never called him Tony,
You had to call him Joe.
Jimmy Lombardo was fucking
John DiFranzo’s wife and John was
Fucking the wife of Billy Dadanno.
Billy was fucking Jerry Copo’s wife.
Jerry meantime was fucking
John’s wife as was Jimmy Lombardo.
Rudy Fratto was fucking her too.
Rudy was also fucking Jimmy’s wife.
My wife was getting fucked by a guy
Named Mike Sacino and I was fucking
Karen Rizzi who was married to Carlo
The crooked cop that nobody liked.
One day Tony said to me,
‘You can’t fuck a cop’s wife!
‘Oh, for Christ’s sake! A cop’s wife!
‘A cop’s wife can’t be fucked!’
Time stood still. All the bullshit
Stopped. Then Tony said,
'Was she an animal in the sack?’
I said, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Yeah?’ ‘Yeah. Yeah.’
Tony said, 'Well, you can fuck her
'One more time!’ I said, ‘Thanks, Joe!’
Because you never called him Tony,
You had to call him Joe.
I watch a cat video and
Then Google a Japanese
Sex webcam but lest
I download a virus
I instead watch badgers
Cunningly escape their
Enclosure on Youtube.
On newyorker.com in vain
I search for a sentence from
An old John Updike story --
‘She saw that his death
Was not far off’ – and then
Watch Michael Jackson’s 1983
Moonwalk debut on Youtube.
I Google Diane Varsi
And on Wikipedia I read
How in high school she
Was branded an outcast
And was called an oddball
And on Youtube I watch
A clip of her in Peyton Place.
I briefly visit weather.com,
Watch another cat video,
Then on voyeurweb.com
I join the millions of viewers
Of the Freestyle Photo section
But decide that Voyeurweb is
Worse since the site was redone.
I Google Henry Howard
The Earl of Surrey, Pinky Lee,
Patsy Southgate, Selma Hyack,
Rabbi Louis Binstock, Earl Scheib,
And Maury Youmans, an obscure
Bears defensive end who played
College ball at Syracuse University.
Rudyard Kipling never Googled
Anything in his life but in 1897
He wrote our navies melt away.
Marry, ‘nuncle, the mind of man
Is what melts now! Cat videos,
Like the film Prehistoric Women
Of 1950 plus the 1967 remake
Are Googleable and viewable
On Youtube so can I Google
Laurette Luez and find out
Everything about her with
Photographs and even a pic
Of her grave? Let’s see. Yes!
No telling what time it was
As he woke in darkness with
The sleeping cat’s warmth,
A gift from God, on the back
Of his neck and, weeping,
He willed himself to perfect
Stillness lest the cat leave.
But wait. Here was a thought,
Here was another possibility:
He was dead and, willfulness
Be damned, could no more
Stir himself than trisect an angle!
Yes, that might be it --
And this was paradise!
‘Is not the death of youth the Iliad’s
Overarching theme?’ Vachel Lindsay
Once inquired -- and the answer is
Yes, of course, as when the arrow
Aimed at Hector instead pierced
Young Gorgythion’s unarmored
Neck and his head slowly bent
As a poppy weighed down by rain
Might so incline, or when aged Nestor
Talked too much with his advice
To Patroclus of dubious efficacy.
Alas, the young warrior, the old king,
Body, or mind -- the death of youth:
But Vachel Lindsay? His death?
You may hear it said as I once heard
That he drank a bottle of Drano but
Lysol it was -- death by Lysol, age 52,
Springfield, Illinois, 12-5-1931.
A poem is like a golf ball because
A poem’s meaning derives from
The multifarious denotations
And connotations of words
Compressed within the poem
As in a golf ball tightly packed
Rubber bands are compressed.
A poem’s meaning is revealed
By unraveling the poem’s figurative
Rubber bands but let us be aware
Of how this can discombobulate
The poem’s energy compression
mechanism. The good news is
Not all poems work that way.
Money is like a golf ball because
Although one golf ball may cost
More than another they are all
The same size just as money can
Come in various denominations
But all American paper bills are
Uniform in length and width.
Also, people may have a golf ball
In a pocket or a purse without
Anyone knowing it or they may
Actually not have a golf ball while
Others believe they do have one.
It’s the same way with money
Because you just never know.
Sex combines golf ball qualities
Of both poems and money because
Sex can be a compressed version
Of an entire relationship just as
Rubber bands are compressed
In a golf ball or a poem’s meaning
Is compressed in its words.
Also, you can’t tell about people’s
Sex lives by looking at people
Just as without actually looking
In someone’s pocket or purse
You can’t tell whether they have
A golf ball, or some money,
Or much money, or no money.
Death is like a golf ball because
Just as a golf ball goes into a hole
In the grass so most people go
Into graves in cemeteries which
Are like golf courses in their verdure
And in the silence we are asked
To maintain and also in the way
Some golf balls smoothly and
Easily descend into a hole while
Others do not. Yet though death
Is like a golf ball let us neither
Weep nor grieve but take heart
And look on the bright side
Because life is like a golf ball too!
Man had a big house outside
Iron Mountain, his wife hot at
The swimming pool, laughing
As Nasko Hooten introduced
Himself: 'What kind of a name
'Is that?' But not in the slightest
Was he pissed off. Light shone
In her eyes, he saw the woman
She would have been were she
Duncan Oklahoma born and bred.
Man had a truck they looked at
For a while – Nasko Hooten said,
‘I’d put a winch on the front
‘Of it were that truck mine.’
I left it
on when I
left the house
for the pleasure
of coming back
ten hours later
to the greatness
of Teddy Wilson
"After You've Gone"
on the piano
in the corner
of the bedroom
as I enter
in the dark
from New and Selected Poems by David Lehman
THE RULE OF THUMB
Ringfinger was nervous
when they learned
that Hand might succumb
to the rule of Thumb.