Chapter One: The Politician
When I was a boy on a farm
in a town by the river
that led past the factory
where trucks backed slowly
onto cobbled roads
with the lobster backs
Chapter Two: The Pendleton
When I’m reading a book
and some character at a party
gets up to leave and, as he leaves,
“gathers up his hat,” say,
“from a cloak room,” say,
then I get all unsettled in my quiet.
I want too to get up. My heart,
a little Russian pig, gets going.
Suddenly I want to be the one to leave a party.
Maybe life imitates art after all. But
maybe not, and for that reflection,
I’d like to thank the Laudermilk family,
of Skaneateles, NY and their Ice Cream Socials
where we would go after church and socially
pile our coats and hats and things up
on Ruthie’s bed. She was their youngest.
Then later we would leave, and
when we would leave, God bless
my everlasting soul, we would
rummage through that American pile—
all of our friends’ coats
with who knows what in their pockets—
pregnancy tests, cigarette papers,
an apple core, a cat’s eye.
I am cowed by trust—
we’d retrieve our hats and leave.
Into that dark night
on hilly roads
Chapter Three: Umbrella Turn
When is the party?
I’d like to thank the guy
who put the bomp in the
bomp bah bomp bah bomp.