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Page 57

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That hulking bouncer in the horrid bar?
As Flaubert might say, C’est moi!

Once or twice a night I grab
some noisy little troublemaker

as if he were a wise-mouthed marionette,
run him headlong out the door,

and slam him on the frozen ground
beside somebody’s rust-scarred car.

Then I stride right back inside,
pound down a beer, and strut around,

purposeful, businesslike,
my mouth shut tight,

with just the slightest hint
of an exasperated smile.

And everyone tout de suite becomes
a whole lot more well-mannered for a while.

  George J. Searles __


So I’m talking to Jennifer Lopez’s cousin—
this was in the Bronx, where I was working
at the time—and she tells me a story
about one night years ago
when she was at some downtown club

and this pushy, boozed-up dude
lurched over and asked her to dance.
At first she said No (a polite No)
because he was way too old for her,
but he kept asking and asking.

So finally they went out onto the floor.
The band was cranking along,
the singer howling “God save the Queen,”
when the guy grabbed his chest, turned blue,
and fell dead, right at her perfect Size 5 feet.

She says she still feels guilty about it
sometimes, that if she’d stuck to her guns
and shot him down, maybe he’d still be alive.
And she’s starting to look pretty bummed out.
So, just to take things in a different direction

and lighten up the mood a bit, I decide to tell her
that really she should be pretty proud of herself,
that not even J. Lo ever put a man into cardiac arrest
just by dancing with him: one more example
of how I always say the wrong damned thing.

  George J. Searles__


Breakfast cereal?
Too many options—
a whole excessive aisle full,
shelf upon profligate shelf:

hot, cold, this kind, that kind,
enough different boxes on display
to feed a starving Third World village
for the next six months.

Such glut can make you want to weep,
or collapse in maniacal hilarity
right there on the supermarket floor
and flop around like a suffocating fish.

After I’ve become King of North America
and have received the ermine-trimmed robes,
ruby-studded crown, imperious queen,
randy royal concubines, and bulletproof Bentley,

my first supreme decree will be
to cut the morning menu down to size:
Wheaties, Cheerios, Raisin Bran,
and nothing more,

unless some clearly desperate supplicant
prostrate before the elaborate throne
makes a really compelling case
for our old pals Snap, Crackle, & Pop.

But then I’ll draw the line.

  George J. Searles__