Tuesday, January 18, 2011

poem of the day 01.18.11

my new friend

is a cop

he grabbed my arm
last week in a bagel shop
when i was hungover

he shocked me

i never liked being grabbed
by cops

but my new friend
let go of my arm
and nodded up toward
my steelers snowcap

you a fan? he asked


for how long? he asked

he had the look of a cop
grilling a suspect

since birth, i said
hoping the booze stayed down
until i got the bagel and coffee
into my tortured stomach

i’m from pittsburgh, i said
because my new cop friend
kept giving me the once over

oh yeah, he said
i’m from monroeville
went to gateway high school

penn hills, i said
as the guy behind the counter
put my bagel and my coffee
in a brown paper bag

we played penn hills in football
the cop said

i think that he was starting
to believe me

the two of us a couple of suburban boys

actually i want to central catholic
i said
trying my best to get out of the door

pittsburgh central catholic?

well i thought that’s where
we were talking about

then my new friend cornered me
i could feel the sweat on my brow
forming underneath this cursed snowcap
that had caused one too many
random conversations in my life

i resolved to throw the snowcap away
as my new cop friend
talked to me about the steelers and penguins
about pittsburgh

while my coffee got cold
my bagel got hard
and everything turned into a dizzy blur
for yours truly

how did you end up here? he asked
as if brooklyn were one of dante’s layers of hell

my wife, i said

it seemed easy enough to blame her
because she wasn’t with me

in truth
i was never sure of how i got
to the places that i did

me too, he said

christ, i thought
inching away from his uniform
from his bullet proof vest

she’s from queens, he said
i came here for the job and met her
don’t see much of a chance
of me leaving anytime soon

sure, i said
because i’d run out of things to say

i miss pittsburgh, he said

i do too, i said
which was kind of untrue

i never missed places
just times in my life
feelings. experiences maybe

people rarely

then i left the bagel shop

my new cop friend
stared at me like a lost puppy dog
until he was out of my sight

poor guy, i thought

it must really suck to be a cop
in new york city.

No comments: