SECTION FIFTEEN
THE POETRY PAGE

sm
COLUMN SEVENTY-TWO, JUNE 1, 2002
(Copyright 2002 Al Aronowitz)

#6 Esquimalt to Dockyard

slunk low in the seat
watching the night slip by
the window

neon lights slide their chemical fingers
across the welt under my eye  

fire

my fingers trace another bruise
along the bridge of my nose  

and

all that's missing is
12 bars of blues
hot coffee
a cigarette  

(goddamn)

and this shit
will be wired tight  ##

* * *

My War Marches On

for Muhammad Ali

This is my time
It's all about me  

It's sound and
it's rhythm  

and

I've got two mean hands
that never get tired
of hitting  

The rope sings its song

thisisthetimethatyounevergetback
thisisthetimethatyounevergetback
thisisthetimethatyounevergetback
thisisthetimethatyounevergetback
nevergetback
nevergetback
nevergetback
nevergetback
 

time

        breathe  ##  

* * *

Uppercut

my gloved hands pound dead flesh

demand answers  

from a deaf mute
punching bag

the words are in there somewhere  ##

* * *

Grandpa

My grandfather swam a lake for his
first cigarette
on a dare from one of his brothers  

I can see him

standing on the shore
jeweled water dripping
from his goose-bumped flesh

chest heaving from exertion  

laughing
around the smoke
skewered in his blue lips  ##

* * *

Nothing Son  

From: cold cruel lips
To: ears that refuse to listen

these are words

for you

blunt

stone knives

fingers stuck in old wounds  

The truth of everything
come home to shake the door  ##

* * *

Pig Shave d  

Getting jumped in was as simple
as taking a step forward
 

and putting one fist
in front of the other
 

smacked the smirk right off
your homeboy's lips

saw his blood

and seven pairs of boots  

just like mine
find their mark

Gang life

as easy as

breathing

blinking an eye  

one second I was alone
and the next

invisible  ##

* * *

Sarah

What'd you get me for Xmas
she asks  

defiant
proud
as usual  

A boot in the ass
w/ a yellow ribbon tied around it
I tell her  

I love yellow
she says  

and we laugh

while I remember

a little girl sitting in my lap
learning to read
from pictures I crudely drew
w/ her crayons on scraps of paper  

swearing contests
and mock hockey fights
in the living room  

me as Probert
her as Domi  

not

this girl

becoming

this woman  ##

* * *

Snapshot #1

Poitras/Gotro - June, 1989  

two boys
charge down the alley behind the Fire Hall
 

laughter cutting the wind in two
soft  blacktop
under the soles of their bargain bin shoes

a car door left open on its hinge  

a package of stolen cigarettes
gripped in thin
French Canadian fingers  ##

* * *

True Story of a Charmer

Got stood up

I had it coming

That phone booth though -

was no match for
40 oz's of whiskey
and a head well past
the expiration date
 

I left it bleeding
static and quarters

receiver swinging on blue veins

a dislocated child's arm

Flicked my cigarette to the curb

and bellied back up to the bar ##

* * *

Requiem

Why do all our wars
start at 2 a.m.
 

puff adders seething
in the dark
 

angry eyes masked
behind cigarette coals
 

slurps of water
thrown in a cup from
the stack of dirties

are you coming to bed  

silence
        of course  

heavy feet stomp the
scattered cat litter flat
 

the fists inside my skull
tan the hide of their drum  ##

* * *

There Is Life Beyond This Hole  

I spend so much of my time
bobbing for skulls in the grave
of my past

exposing little

more than still pictures  

smeared with
bad blood  ##

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