Tuesday, January 13, 2015

poem of the day 01.13.15

tore her up

barry would always
complain about his younger wife

we’d be driving to deliver windows and doors
and he would just start out of the blue

she doesn’t understand me, man,
he’d tell me

i was a philosopher
i was into art history before i met her
i read and re-read all of those novels
i see you reading on your lunch

christ, barry, i’d say

then i’d look out onto the bleak
western new york landscape
wondering if this was the best i could do

i realize that she’s only twenty-two
and that i’m thirty-eight, barry would say

but i was a scholar
a man of letters
i could tell picasso’s just by looking at them

picasso isn’t that hard, i told him
you’d have better luck bragging about andre derain

you don’t understand
all she talks about is the baby
and rent and food and bills and how she had
to drop out of college to pay for the baby
and rent and food and bills

i have no intellectual stimulation

when it got too much
sometimes barry would park the truck

he’d turn to me
why did i do it, man?
an underage piece of ass in a bar
a couple of stupid night in my apartment
and now it’s all this

let’s have a beer, i said to him

then we’d drive to a convenience store
and get a couple of tall boys
while snow fell all over western new york

usually about half-way through the beer
was the time barry would pull out his wallet

it was always the same picture
of his wife before she had their baby

she was a good looking woman
she probably still was

barry was batting way out of his league

look at her, he’d say to me
he’d press the picture closer to my face

look how beautiful she was, he’d say
then he’d take a big gulp on the beer and be quiet for a bit

for a moment i’d thank a god that i didn’t believe in
then check my watch to see if i could get in another beer

i ruined her too, he’d eventually say

she was so young
she had such a body and such a future
but i tore her up

i tore up her young body and we had that kid

barry would put the picture back in his wallet
i sat there drinking while he held that square of beaten leather

knowing that in a minute or two he’d pull a one-eighty
and out would come the pictures of the kid
the inevitable conversation about how grand his life really was.


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