December Dances for you
December 2016- So- you going to watch or waltz ?
Hot Horse’s Christmas visit.
(for Billy Gas)
On the night they made it official
that talking Plywood was moving his
plank into the White House
Hot Horse celebrated by sleeping
in his car at the train station.
Earlier in the evening
he sat in the bowling alley bar
out near the airport
with Frank Meyers and Billy Gas
in Lucky Ward’s dream.
They all traded their stories
while it snowed like hell outside.
It was black guy league night.
One dejected spade stood at the bar
with a small wooden sign hung
about his neck with a chain.
Engraved in the middle of it
was the word “shitty.”
They all accepted this.
Upon returning from taking a leak
down the other end of the alley,
Hot Horses reported that the white
bowlers were supplementing their
game with a deck of extremely
explicit pornographic playing cards.
Both Frank and Billy took turns
going to the can.
Later in the course of the conversation
all agreed that the deck beat the “Shitty”
sign hands down and the scene on the
joker card from the white guys dirty
deck was everybody’s favorite.
Gradually the rolling concussions of
strikes, spares and ten-pin splits subsided.
Frank Meyers asked, “so your really going to
see Lucky Ward this time?”
Hot Horse shrugged, “looks like it…..don’t really
know what to expect, it’s been twenty years.
He’s hold up back at his folk’s house, the marriage
went south back on the west coast, wife got her nose
stuck in the whiff bucket, his kids are all grown,
and he’s been on workmen’s comp.”
“I can dig it,” Billy Gas interjected, “I feel like
I could blow a gasket any day now.”
At the end of the evening they dropped Hot Horse
off at his car at the train station.
The snow had tapered off.
Hot Horse produced a three foot gilded
imitation porcelain angel from his trunk for Frank’s mom.
“She’ll love that, Billy observed.
“Yeah”, Hot Horse went, “just never know what you’ll
find out at BIG LOTS.”
Frank beamed, “Bet she puts it right on top of the television.”
They left Hot Horse to sleep in his car and
ponder the new administration while waiting for
his train at dawn.
In the middle of the night
Hot Horse was startled out a thin nod
by the roar a long thunderous freight train
high balling through the station.
The resounding rhythmic concussion
detonated ton after ton of frozen steel down
the rails like a murderous immense bowling ball
gutter channeled with razor flange.
It pounded away with a ear puncturing madness
cyclone snow sideways in a
shattering nightmare of runaway motion.
Hot Horse groggily attempted to make sense
of what was passing him by.
Then the monster just disappeared into a shroud
of white vapors and powdery snow waves
as one trailing red eye winked while it faded
and faded into the gray swirling sponge of false dawn blackness.
Then Hot Horse set alone in silence.
Eventually he fell back asleep
and dreamed of frozen useless switches
on the main line
while he heard Lucky Ward’s voice,
“even after you think you’ve learned the ropes,
you have to read so far between those lines on
that script that you begin to get the idea
the whole scene is better off left unperformed
and then one day you just get shut down.
Coldly cut out of it all
your just another derailment without so much as
your name on it.
Attitude House 01/01
The whistle is the period
in this motion sentence.
calling cooling coffee steam
escaping gray minuet figure 8s
in a rocking cardboard tray.
how many years
have you been ending
your life sentence
in this paragraph.
to some temporary core
where you define
your next visit as the
last lap of time and distance
like rungs of a ladder.
That track bed ratio
of rhythm and ties.
How do they sing in their beds so ?
What is it with that whistle
that you still insist upon
that you hear so clearly
into a sentence of movement.
Take a deep breath
of the dark roads awash
in wire to wire rain.
Do you stop to heave a sigh here ?
In relief awash or gasp for air
15 hours after ignition.
Do we have your
How can you hope to convey
A shadow’s dance
In lock step perpetuation.
What kind of ticket shall we call this then ?
Miracle, weary ritual
or merely picking
from the fabric of your reflections
a thread you wove
that called you by name incessantly.
Into a dream
from out of a dream.
Where you step
and step again
all over it.
Just past it
12/03 Greetings from Gridville
Christmas Visit Snapshot
Nearly noon along the Hudson
Brilliant light about
descending rust wine
iron crane wench hook
set in blue and white midday relief.
McNamara’s daughter isn’t coming
Johnny in Singapore
You sit in here alone
listening to the bartender
tell that the pickpockets are
using box cutters this year
up on 86th and Lexington.
Back in the Big Red Mountain booth
way downtown beaten worn linoleum
I’ll call you from the payphone
in the back near the pool table
while listening to the killer jukebox
resurrect Spike Jones singing,
“you always hurt the one you love.”
12/99 Attitude House
Can you find any words left
for the long runway and this familiar foot rest.
All day miles melted past
and you were able to sit still silently propelled
just reading and taking notes.
Your big idea of time off.
Now before the last leg of the trip
you heel toe the legs put the sidewalk square
with an older eye.
Attesting to this as I walk in the door
overheard from the boys over the pool table,
“here comes the professor…..
wonder where his footnotes are tonight?”
So you take your place at the bar and
Always remembering, remembering
where you came from.
Greenport Christmas 98 Attitude House