Uncle Tommy’s Kids

Bippity bippity Bop–
I’m off like a Beatnik to the bar–
not so fast, not so fast, I’m going to see
my Uncle Tommy behind the ashy
black Formica, his watch glimmering in the
dim (I can picture it, rerun as stale as mugs of Miller bought for dames who sipped and proceeded to walk away and grab a pool cue) his shaking yet laconic strong fingers swiping rag with nothing better to do as I drop to my knees (metaphorically speaking) and plead like a seal for a Lucky like a bum . . .
I’m goin to see Tommy.
But I am drunk, since you mention it.
That’s what friends are for.
To make you forget that you’ve got no friends.

Roofs dissolve the sun and lose themselves up
in the burnt out sky and the park grows
dangerous even as I pass
But this is a good neighborhood–good as any,
anyway, and children play in a tractor tire
circling sand
a boy plays with some dog shit
another pours sand on a salamander
(though salt works best) and I think I
hear screaming deep down in the damp grass
a colony of ants eating a grasshopper,
maybe, and I feel so small
in this jungle blowing in the wind,
buildings growing like blades of
wild grass
neglected (no future in mowing)
Hey, mister
I stub myself on the curb and trample over
Where ya goin, mister
God only knows, I say
Look what we found
Don’t talk to him, the other boy says
Why not
Well Look at im
the green writhin pores filled with
dry dying, a withering green leaf grown too high out on a limb touching
someone’s sun
You guys sposed ta be out? I say, not really concerned
You won’t tell nobody, will ya?
Nah, I won’t tell nobody.
the boy sifts sand through small fingers until the salamander is nothing but a shifting mound
Now it stops, still, a short cut funeral
You guys thirsty?
Wait out here, I’ll be right back, I say and step into the haze of Tommy’s
He sees me, looks away, mutters something,
one of those cigar stubs probing from his chops like a big toe, an Asian leper dropping fat ash which he wipes up,
puffing a smokey sigh
I don’t smile (don’t know if I could anyway) cause I don’t wanna seem
Back again, Bill?
I just want a couple a Cokes, Tommy.
Like fuckin hell.
It’s not for me, Tommy.
Who’s it for, your landlady?
I got a couple a kids outside.
He bashes me over the nose with a look that
says "don’t tell me you knocked somebody up, Billy Boy" and I grab the look by the horns instead of dodging it with my usual red cape technique
They’re not mine. Just some kids, Tommy.
Yeah. Right.
He scowls and pours me a shot and then
another and another and . . .
then he cuts me off
but the circulation to my
eyes is already cut off or maybe the
lids are filled up with blood cause they
squish down like guts over the
belts of my eyes
and I mumble something about Cokes
and kids and salamanders as I
drift off into myself
in out of the cold dark for one more
hibernation, thinking somebody’s
waiting for me to come out of myself and
not sure how to feel about it
maybe in the morning
I’ll figure it out.