Thursday, June 18, 2009

poem of the day 06.18.09

just lucky, i guess

we’re sitting in this european-style jazz club
on the back portion of a wooden bench
and the band is playing the same songs as the other band played
the night before
so i am drinking a lot of scotch and watching the lakers
on a small television that the club has and my wife
is trying to pay attention to the band
but the waitress comes by and asks us every other minute
if we need a refill on our drinks, so she’s not really hearing anything
and i’m not really watching the game either.
there’s a couple in front of us and the guy keeps looking back at me
and when the band stops for a break he turns with his hand extended
and says “well, since we’re sitting together we might as well get
to know each other.”
i take his hand and we shake but i wonder who in the fuck
thinks this way
then his wife turns around and introduces herself and they
start talking to my wife and i about new orleans and how this
is their first trip and how they are from west virginia by way
of north carolina by way of lafayette, louisiana
and they have a baby and this is their first time leaving her alone
although they’ve been calling every other hour
and the wife she’s used to getting up at five in the morning
so she’s still doing that here, and so they end up in bed around nine-thirty
every night
and the husband is looking from his wife to my wife to me, and he’s
shaking his head and smiling, and all i can think is “you son-of-a-bitch,
if you would’ve just kept to yourself, none of us would be in this mess now.”
and of course when they are done spilling their life’s guts they want
to know all about my wife and i, so we tell them, my wife elaborating more
than i do, because i’m trying to flag the waitress down to get more drinks
because if i’m going to keep listening to these people i’m going to need
more drinks
and in no time two more scotches arrive while the couple are babbling
about their jobs in west virginia and not touching their beers
and i keep thinking “why me? why us?”
and when they finally leave the club to go back to their hotel and
call for their daughter one more time, before falling asleep to the
nightly news, i look at my wife and say “what the fuck?” just as the band
begins to play again and the waitress starts eyeing up our drinks
and my wife looks at me and says “we’re just lucky, i guess. it could’ve
been worse.”
which was true.
and it was worse, two days later, in a car coming back to brooklyn
from the airport
hungry and tired, and stressed from a plane ride full of
nothing but turbulence and screaming children
we had this driver who kept talking about beer and pills
his bad cholesterol, traffic on the belt parkway,
the mets, the yankees, his two divorces, his two jobs, bad credit,
missing his child support payments, how nobody is a good
tipper anymore, and about how the woman he’s living with
has money all over the country
and i guess we were just lucky to hear that story too.

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