Monday, December 10, 2012

poem of the day 12.10.12

round corner

they weren’t men
they were relatives
it was like being hit
from all sides of the family tree
and each one of them took up a stool
at the round corner
to drink and waste another saturday
fathers sitting next to sons
next to uncles and grandfathers
grandkids like me
my own grandfather hungry for this place
more and more since his wife died
so we’d sit there and drink together
never speaking
but we never spoke anyway
occasionally he’d re-introduce me
to some cousin that i hardly knew
and we’d stand there like mute fools
until he walked away shaking his head
wondering what that was all about
or some uncle who told me a story
that i’d heard a thousand times over
and hours would pass this way
as college ball played on the televisions
and the bottles of iron city beer piled up
and conversations turned into accusations
old family grudges egged on by alcohol
and no discernible lunch
until the barman kicked us all out
into the ugly pale light of the afternoon
telling us to go on home
to mother and daughters
sitting next to aunts and grandmothers
in cramped pittsburgh houses
their palpable disappointment
cooking in old gas ovens
bringing these men to their knees
brittle like wilted roots on a dying oak
and back to the same hard stools
the very next weekend
to do this kind of genealogy
all over again.


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