I'm a retired teacher and school administrator and I've written poetry, seriously and less than seriously, since I was a teenager. It's only recently that I've taken seriously the idea of sharing my poems beyond these four walls—where they're met with great acclaim by my wife and sometimes by my daughter—and my poems have appeared in journals, e-zines, and anthologies. My chapbook, Exactly Like Love, has been published by Osedax Press, and a second printing will be available before the end of the year.
I’m 9 and behind the wheel of our green and white ’55 Olds.
I start to check the mirrors,
but my father tells me not to worry what’s coming from behind--
though I know he always does.
The Belt curves around to the right near the Bay Parkway exit
and I see houses and parks and empty lots in the distance
and people walking on Shore Road, dressed for the weather.
What’s missing is the Verrazano up ahead,
that behemoth that looms over everything on land and on the sea
and whose towers you can hardly ever see in the morning fog.
It’s 1958, building it had not yet begun.
Careful, Aloysius, he says to me, though he knows I’m scared
and more apt to wander from my lane unwittingly
than be foolhardy or reckless:
I am my father’s son.
This is a game I call Before—
and as the bridge appears in the distance now—
as it always does—maybe I can see it new,
an approximation of the wonder that I’ve lost,
that the years of easy living have worn away.
Imagine seeing it now as if for the first and being stunned by its grace,
its size, its utterness, the way it swallows up
the boats, the streets, the houses,
fathers showing how to sail a boat, to skim a stone;
kids on bikes, their fathers holding on and huffing from behind;
fathers teaching their young how to drive
and secretly pressing an imaginary brake
to slow the car and the press of time;
even a father’s memory of all that came before,
and he never got a chance to tell.
-first appeared in Melancholy-Hyperbole
The Lost Children
Then they’re grown and gone
and though you’ve mostly lost track of their whereabouts—
their faces no longer stuck to the fridge
or names mentioned as preface to the 10 o’clock news
as requiring a place to be at this hour—
you see them now in your dreams, lined up from here
just short of Kingdom Come,
impossible to tell one from the next,—
once so eager or innocent, distracted or scared,
and now each with the same ironic smirk
you’d like to wipe off their face with a fist
or at least take an eraser
to their insolent, cartoon stance,—
arms crossed, one knee slightly hitched
and you’d swear almost ready to bend into your crotch,
as you pass searching frantically
for the one who once belonged to you, who,
if the world were a smarter, saner place,
would agree, it would be best
you’d never recognize,
even if you ran into each other
on the platform of the train,
on line for the Philharmonic,
or waiting out your time in the park alone,
sipping another blessed cup of joe.
-appears in Exactly Like Love, published by Osedax Press
Motion is medicine, you tell me
and other times you say, Medicine is motion,
and when I fail to apply the commutative property
and switch it back around,
you tell me I’m being difficult
which I’m known to be
when I don’t really give a shit,
and forget the Prime Directive:
In marriage, it’s best to go along to get along.
It also shows that day to day, Yeats was wrong:
things don’t fall apart;
they just get confused and eventually misshapen
till you can’t figure which end is up,
or what’s the subject of the sentence,
or even which of the seven classic disciplines we ought to apply
that would bring meaning to a challenging concept.
This could explain Brexit, or the National Front in France
—Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite, my ass--
or Pres. Trump’s one nation under God--Trust me, he says:
we’ll have the very best One;
or the existence of the God particle
which sounds so promising
that something—anything—might be holding us together.
I’ve learned reading Physics for Dummies
that a body in motion tends to stay in motion,
though I’ve noticed it’s plenty easy
these days to tumble into an easy chair and fall fast asleep
with hardly a moment’s notice, even with all the bad news
on loud and in a continuous loop.
It was said Dali, himself, preferred to nap with a tin on his head.
When it would fall and crash like cymbals on the hardwood floor
he would wake to the alarm, now rested,
wax his moustache again, and get back to work.
I guess, given current conditions,
we’d be wise to forego our next nap,
and get our asses back in gear.
© 2016 Alan Walowitz
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