Persistent November Recalls Again

November 2020-Off the air-rerunning


One Night in York


A few years back there was

this tough old heavy set

Amtrak cop who found himself

in a snotty literary in-bred

coffee house in the middle

of nowhere one November

Saturday night.


The cop liked to write

about some of the things he

had seen in his life and had

a few of his books with him

and put them on a table

in the back of the room for sale.


Some scrawny weathered looking

stranger approached him and asked if

he could put some of his poetry

on the table and share the space.


Cop eyed him warily.



Why not.


During the reading he turned

to this woman next to him

while the guy was up in front of the room

and remarked,


“He’s pretty funny isn’t he”


And she smiled back at him in a raven whisper.


Outside that mild Fall night

leaves descended like midnight feathers

in the street lamp shrouded avenue.


Later he looked out the big glass window

and saw the guy who was reading before

and the woman he had spoken to.


They stood inches apart

smoking face to face

in embrace

cascading leaves tucking themselves

into the folds of their garments.


And he thought what music are those two hearing?


Certainly some composition

secret and profane

a very, very old song.

They looked like they belonged

in each other’s arms

and been there

for a very long time.


There was this autumn

midnight halo surrounding

them standing on the sidewalk.


Nothing or anyone else out there

touched the stranger and that

woman in his arms.


Now the tough old Amtrak cop

had seen enough wrong combinations

in his line of work.



in his line of work

was what it was all about.


What looked right.

What didn’t fit.


Nobody could appear to be so happy

with each other.

Something didn’t add up here.

These two just appear

out of the thin night air

and hover out there

like apparitions



in love.


And they weren’t kids either.

They both looked like

they had both been around

but not from here

and not always with each other….



That’s the part that puzzled him somewhat.

And he shaking his head and despite

himself allowing slight grin thought,

“I just know there

is one hell of a train wreck

in somewhere in there…


But as for that moment of impact

between them right now was

a slow motion derailment

a bum in the yards

with a hard luck story

a glimmer of moon

on the silent empty rails

teenagers drinking

wine in a box car

A lost drunk

praying for salvation and ten bucks

a row of green eyed

open yard signals

while on a siding

a yard goat pulled

a long heavy freight

somewhere else



The old tough Amtrak cop

had witnessed endless

arresting images

of lost souls in

the 2 AM limbo of the switch yard.








But these two ?










All he could do right now

was file it under advisement

and figure they probably

would turn up again

somehow in his life

as in the distance

a long lost Diesel Horn spoke

telling him there was a story somewhere.                                                        6/10

New work 8/20

Wrong Number

(for Phil by way of da wheel)

So I’m walking into a bar on E 7th

In 1956 right after the Dodgers beat Yanks in the last World Series

That Winter February afternoon

And Spring Training was right around the corner

And all ready there was talk about them moving to LA

Nobody reading the papers was buying it-

A loud mouth regular puts it this way-

No way the Giants skip town- that’s just Stoneham putting the pressure

On the city to build him a new stadium so they can ditch that Polo Grounds dump-

I order a tall boy of High Life in bottle and a

Shot of Dewers neat

And slap a buck and half on the countertop

Getting couple of nickels for change

Head for the jukebox

While watching that new TV set that’s showing up in most places lately

Blurry black and white with the sound muted usually

While that same know it all regular pronounces – TV stinks- look at that tiny screen-

It’s just a fad- never will catch on-

Me ? rather go to the movies

As my numbers come up on the jukebox  playing

Bill Hailey and the Comets- See you later Alligator

And while lighting up a Camel Straight

Wondering who was that Dish in the phone booth

Laughing out loud down the end of the bar

While smiling over here

While I wait for her to get off the horn

There’s bar stool next to me with a purse and a Pink Squirrel

With a battered pack of Viceroy


I’m not going anywhere-

After hanging up the receiver she sashays towards me

In a red & white polka dot hoop skirt and her high heels

Clicking 2 inch stiletto heels on the linoleum

Sitting down on the adjacent bar stool

She snaps some gum with crackle

Sizes me up and down and says-

So what are you looking at ?   Creep.

VQ 7/30/2020

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