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Poem of the Week
Baby teeth scattered about.
Terrible twos at it again
In a whine, whine, whine
Over what’s mine, mine, mine.
Only this time gang colors adorn
The diaper with I hate you the first
Words out of a toddler’s mouth.
Mom’s turning tricks on the strip
Between Broadway and Main
To get enough scratch for sustenance
Cause the dealers don’t take food stamps.
Dad’s been wearing out the concrete
Between the big house and the little house
Since puberty when he became the moneymaker
By any and all means possible.
Grandma’s been dead since Christmas
When her heart gave out
Giving chase to some purse snatcher
Who took her for a Toys R Us sawbuck.
Preacher pontificates from his pulpit on evil
Talking up Jesus and everybody hallelujahs
Till he’s led off in handcuffs
With porn in a box and worse in his soul.
But it don’t change no mind for the good
By blowing somebody’s brains out.
Scores never settle in bloodshed
As the god of revenge enlists the dead forever.
But hope is forever as well even in this part of town
Where bad hands are dealt a dime a dozen.
It don’t cost nothing to dare to dream
Of days free of duress and deceit.
Ask yourselves is this the best you can be?
Heed the night for sparks of courage and conscience
To ignite a wild fire to light the alleys
That cast selfish shadows on our modest desires.
It starts with you and an army of men like you
To break the cycle of sin on your street.
Story of the Week
The drone of rubber carving asphalt was always a kind of vagabond lullaby to Rick Dalrymple. From Louisville to Chattanooga, Harrisburg to Altoona, or Potomac to Raleigh, it didn't matter much what the destination was, he just let the melody of nomadic friction do it’s job. But today was different, he couldn't drift off, his veteran gaze lost in the blur of highway signs and sprawling foliage that zipped past his window like fast-moving slides of a traveler’s regret. He was headed to his home park in Syracuse.
Next to him on the bus sat Josh Boone, a five-tool centerfielder with a body engineered by genetics, supplements, and an overbearing, weekend father. He was 22 and on doorstep of The Show, his stay in Triple A will be short-lived. Rick liked the kid, thought he was humble, respectful of the game, and dedicated. A future all-star if everything played out right. He also liked that the kid called him Rickdiculous whenever he got a huge strikeout late in a close game. They recently began to sit together on road trips, the young assassin and the rusty revolver, two ballplayers at the dawn and dusk of their careers.
“Tell me about Henry Harper. Skip said you faced him once years ago but I had to get the story from you. Give me the scoop.”
I could handle the name change
but they keep transferring you
to so many different units
that I’m running out of space
in my address book
and now they’re shuffling you
from prison to prison
I know this is America
but this is a bit too much
even for a pro like me
all these prisons being built
like factory assembly lines
I mean there’s only so many
license plates one can make
makes no sense to me
You ask how I’m doing which
is kind of you given your circumstances
Truth is I’m confined to my own prison
even if there are no keepers
where life has become a surreal movie
with nothing but bit actors
like those old time sing-a-longs
they flashed on the screen
when I was a kid
follow the bouncing ball
trouble is I couldn’t then
and can’t now carry a note
It’s a hard life brother
on the inside on the outside
The old man down on Market Street
the one with no legs and a skateboard
has more balls than Congress
this is a bitch of a poem
not a bitching one
I know you know the difference
even if the jailers don’t
thirsting after blood like a junkie lab technician
stepping on over and around dead bodies
looking for new spirits to bury
The message of America can’t be found
on Mount Rushmore
it’s written in blood at the
Texas Book Depository
I know this guy who believes
if we reduce the world population
by a third and close our borders
there will be enough food for everyone
in the world
but this same guy breeds killer dogs
and has five children and another on the way
it’s the kind of shit that’s driving me sane
just when I was getting the insane part
down to perfection
Better watch it brother
you might get what you wish for
a new trial a new judge a new jury
but would the outcome
be any different?
The D.A. should wear
a black robe a wig and powder his cheeks
bend over and beg forgiveness
what’s left of Eliot Ness’ old gang
could take on the Wise Guys
outside the court house
hell I might even buy a ticket
mouth a few obscenities
to take the edge off the hype
We are born we die
we spend time in between
be it behind or outside the walls
and the prisons keep getting built
and all I can do about it
is write these “bitching” poems
to an audience that does nothing
Sometimes I think
I’m a retarded space alien
put here by a superior race
you on the inside me on the outside
inner parts of a human computer waiting
to be blanked from the screen