TUESDAY: BABES

BY JAMES KEANE

Previously published in  the author’s poetry chapbook What Comes Next (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Copyright is held by the author.

 

I’ve been writing and speaking your eulogy
in my mind
again, the heart-filled-with-
aching speech of unrequited pain
again, the one where
not a day goes by that
you didn’t give me joy
but then

Darla, Alfalfa, Spanky, Sneezy, Dopey (me?) and
for all I know
Willie, Mickey, the Duke of Flatbush and of
Memory or Whimsy (me!)
tickle your smiling teeth forever to squeak
sweetly, neatly through
all the revolting yogurts
sprouts and salads of bitter lettuce
you always and eagerly chew, while

a quiet hand I never knew
two seats down more softly
than suddenly
peeks, halts
reaches wistfully
barren into the dull commuted air to
click off the hovering
light of my wayward dreams
as I stare
at everyone and everything
that isn’t all there, while barely

gripping the seat across the aisle,
abandoned newspapers rarely
contain themselves to reveal
another bright, oblivious teenaged boy
has died
a stupid death behind a steering wheel
and
for lack of anything better to do
everyone cried.

Babes,

I will come again
and again to our own
untimely end?
having reveled
in many a stupid and lovely thing:

The kind leg
of my woman
friend rests gently
softly
on my knee
and shin, her head in innocence
nodding, heavy
with work and heavenly
songs her angelic voice would bring, slowly

sinking, unbidden?
but sinking . . . halting . . . dropping . . .
faltering . . . haltering . . . halter topping? . . . Oh,
just sing,
silent mouth,
roam about
my secret
grin, win
over and over
my suburban head grown a little
less older, a pleasure dome
of tin, then
light and nest on my stately
shoulder, at least

till we all roll home.

 

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