Table of |
There are three things wrong with this place—
The Pasta Palace.
First: there ain’t no pasta. I only see
bags of chips and pretzels behind the bar—
and not even any pickled eggs.
Second: it certainly ain’t no ‘Palace.’
the cracked vinyl on the stools might even
classify it as a dive.
Third: the sign out there’s a big lit-up
jack of clubs. I don’t see no joker-poker
machines hiding in the corner.
But that’s okay; I don’t need any linguini
or luxury or luck but I would like to be sitting
in a joint that’s as advertised—and what if
I were one of those people who would just
walk out when they found the contents didn’t
match the cover? For the owner’s sake,
he should update his sign to reflect
the downgrade, depict the dump—might lose
a little at first—but the good word will spread:
what you see is what you get—truth’s gotta be worth
something—like a Saturday night crowd
when it’s only Tuesday afternoon.
To Buy or Lease
Travis Brower, the art teacher,
our colleague at the school,
was only renting the house
whose property sprawled
greenly just north of the interstate
but far enough to call the white
lights, red lights susurrating stars
running the valley’s rolling folds,
a blessing of the night.
Angela was house-sitting, chaperoning
The teenage French au pair when we,
adults, decided to walk in the summer air,
wandered into the warm outside
where the woods wrapped around the
yard’s far rear edge and a low creek
burbled below a muddy cherub
of stone who would have kept the secret
of the kiss I couldn’t place on her near face,
had I determined to make the purchase,
unlike Travis—who even had a kid—
on these firefly acres and hardy brick.
We strolled back over soft-dewed blades.
Angela said she should check on the good
and useful girl from beyond the waves.
I cursed myself, my lack in safe quiet,
weakly imagined the resolute grasp
of her shoulders, the kiss by the stream.
At the well-appointed rental, bathed
in responsible light, found cold comfort,
compensation in a board-game with the two.
At least these fruit flies,
eyes redder than these Anjou pears
they apparently favor, are benign,
for they persist in sometime soft swarms,
slow as blimps stuffed of helium
but difficult in the end to bring
to land and nether
so clear the night’s home air
interrupted by their squadron flicker
across the searchlight of television
and then return to the dark
and indolent disappearance
to settle on wine-bottle lip
and seasoned-brown banana skin
for the sleeping until the search
for the innocuous begins anew
in the light rising on its own easy hour.
As the teen opened his mouth
to ask what mechanical service
their franchise could provide,
filaments of saliva stretched
through the air close under his lips
to link the upper and lower ranks
of his braced teeth, a working
spider in the maw on the hunt
for flies would be only a bit worse,
so I questioned his proficiency
with my vehicle necessary for routes
of the day and any exigency,
for oil is the blood of machines,
and in minutes he would open
the steel vein and drain
that vital fluid from my ride.
I waited in some suspense
while my engine ran dry
then received my renewed
wheels after paying the fee,
found relief in the life restored
made a point to discount in future
need the evidence of opened mouths
and the deception they may weave.