Monday, November 6, 2017


Find Us and Get Lost


there’s no grace to be found in Allentown
with its Baltimore fear and Gettysburg talk
the coffee shop crowd is too young to be hopeless
but they are hopeless, still, in and out the door
waiting for their words to be grown up on their tongues

it’s not too late to celebrate what’s regional, what’s local
be it food or dialect or anything that reminds
that we are not homogenized into the same place, people

something like a cheesesteak shop lost in a home depot
something like a five and ten window filled with built model airplanes
something like a model of the New York skyline in plywood and cardboard
something like the Mexican grocery and the young girls
running streets wild with balloons attached to their wrists

I’m almost sure the first breeze of fall is lurking
when it comes it may take all this away


communion of a half cookie on Hamilton outside Yocco’s West
the special sauce not sure if it wants to sit as I skate backroads
trying to guess the name of a tavern in a cornfield
spied from sixty miles an hour
spied from atop the Eastern Pennsylvania stars sitting full on stalks

greeted by a bar with that you’re a stranger look
Free Bird on the juke, happy birthday balloons stuck static to ceiling
these people are all related, blood or marriage
they make faces at ancestry, the bartender fishes
bottle service from a cooler with pray written neatly in black sharpie

Rolling Rock steeds rear up in cigarette and bear claw vapor smoke
a chorus of Welcome to the Jungle has broken out
pretty girl daughter of birthday mom dances
Axl Rose on beau, leaned over a pool cue

over the bar a sign says tipping is not a city in China
gooseneck Stella pours, the chorus is onto Bon Jovi
then to Clapton, then sappy 90’s country, they’re slow dancing
in the next room with promo shots of 80’s bluesmen

I hear the wheeze of the men’s room fan
the Busch beer ad circa 85 on the wall, a half
eaten cake, they ate the name, another sign on the fireplace
do not help with the fireplace

back on a barstool, a shot arrived
one girl says to the bartender Hey Nikki. Hey Ashley
she returns as she pours dead soldiers in perfect symmetry
this shot a flawless ocean to the top of the glass
I hoist it, expectations come easy
under my breath I cheers: here’s to death culture

--Jason Baldinger

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