“You have until April 30 to watch this selection — Netflix”
Older young people play at younger
young people, six episodes a day —
how did I miss this show? —
models given the gift of living twice,
darling thieves of wiser words, hard-earned middle-aged
insight unencumbered by bad knees or hernia,
post-menopausal Truth now un-hot-flashed,
now rehoused in pert vessels of
improbable intelligence —
it’s got to piss you off!
All our bones stolen by
un-wrecked Sexy Buddhas
arsoning our kindling
while we hyper-watch the blaze
before it, too, is taken from us.
New doctors are like puppies.
They have to play with all their toys
and can be wildly cute.
Fresh out of obedience school,
all they know is rules and cutoffs;
they cannot yet lay by the fire
because they are the fire
and have trouble being still.
Old doctors, like old dogs,
aren’t so eager.
They know our secret heart,
the love we’ve spent against
as we wave
Older than the sidewalk cracks and
street, settled on his flaking porch,
he remembered the Valley when it was trees.
“I’m ready to not be old,”
he said as I passed by.
His eyes were uncommonly blue,
for an old man.
He said: “They published my poem.”
I was on my way to school,
about to not stop.
“Once I get the book,
I’ll read it to you.”
The book cost $49.95.
He held up the flyer they sent.
But he was proud,
so I said nothing.
“Hallo,” he’d say,
waving from his chair.
“Hello,” I’d say,
not wanting to be rude.
top of the world,
have a good day.
Joe was great-uncle wrinkled,
and I had class to get to,
I was a Senior.
But everyone should talk
to a grandpa sitting on a porch.
He asked if I wanted to read his poem.
The book was thick with cheap paper.
I was late but said yes
and the poem was about apples
and I didn’t have to make something up.
It was worth more than the book.
“Do you like it?” he asked.
“I want to read it to my English class.”
Joe gave me his book.
He said to be careful with it.
“I never got published before.”
We sat watching cars
speed down Oxnard Street,
heads moving left to right
then back again, ready.
Joe made coffee
and I listened to stories.
He voted for Roosevelt
and Nixon, twice —
“bet you no one’ll ever tell you that!” —
He didn’t like his grand-daughter.
He said I wouldn’t either.
“Uppity. Ugliness is inner.”
He said if you wanted to get
a pothole fixed in LA,
put a movie-camera next to it
and the mayor would come fill it himself.
He so near the end
talked to me so near the beginning,
said we were bookends on God’s shelf.
His hands trembled, so I carried the cups.
“That’s what age does,
shakes us loose
from the inside out.”
The Oxnard Street poet and
an uppity kid who learned to listen
to words warmed by coffee