Grade A: The World

Written in Albuquerque (Terrace SE), March 2012.  My original title for this was “A Late Lunch in the World.”  The white house is on Silver SE, the 7-11 on University and Central SE, Jess’s old place and mine and Vicky [Reeves]’s on Tijeras NE, Katie [Greaves]’s on Maple NE, the park on Roma NE.  Published in Wings of the Gray Moon.

The World


Firstlife rises.

Dandelions to be specific,

friends I’d rather have than most people.


The white house with the big porch hurts me,

but I’m always fooled by the pretense of prosperity.

And it must be pretense

in a neighborhood like this

where the money’s silent and embarrassed.


I buy a triangle-cut ham sandwich at the 7-11

and only after chewing the invulnerable plastic open

discover one slice of bread is cracker-tough,

another disintegrating soggy.


But the two in the middle taste like bread.

It’s not bad to eat

as I walk by Jess’s old place, and Katie’s,

and mine and Vicky’s, all the crowd

of holes in my life.


And now I’m on streets of brash, if unpushy, money.

Right away my nose finds a wood fire

on a warm afternoon.

The hills here are comfortable, though extreme.

Sun heals my white

and across the park a girl I can barely see

sheds sex like a bit more volatile sun.


But really only enough to cram the space

between my bottle of Spicy Hot V-8 and my bag of jellybeans.


A woman studying at an iron table

lights a cigar,

then collects gear, gets in her car and drives away

leaving the cigar on the table.


I don’t know what to think or not think.

Except there aren’t enough black jellybeans.


Two guys with a ladder on their truck drive off

and now I have the park to myself.


But don’t want it.

Everything that’s happened has been planned.

So was I, mom assured me,

and told the tale of how

before they knew what sex I’d be

everyone called me Little New.


I’m very far from either.

Someone I failed to spy before

in another truck with polarized windows

is writing a poem about a potbellied sleaze on a bench

gobbling candy.

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