The short man’s five rigid fingers shot energy rays
Then his hands went back into his curly hair for lubrication
Then his fingers became erect again and shot more frustration juice
He bit his marble hand, bent way over and yelled and cried
(not real tears though, don’t confuse acting with acting)
In any case, I couldn’t hear a sound locked in my glass observation booth
I did get to see the girls going at it, five or six of them
Heads down like rams, flailing
Pulling shocks of hair, slapping faces, breaking glasses
(Females know no rules)
One had a switch for herding goats,
And everybody crept up to see the show, gratis, and kibitz
Except the northern gentleman in the next car with the yellow shirt and red tie
He didn’t get out either, clicking his tongue (the animals!)
Won’t somebody exercise some authority here?
Where’s the captain, in the wine cellar?
I realized as we pulled up to Messina and the lazy peace officers came aboard
That I was a northerner too and will never grow accustomed
To this welcome home.
Included in a family not my own
I’m held in fond regard or perhaps hostage
Bondage but not blood
Blood washes they say here
You don’t know what a blood is, I say
Unless you went to my high school
And stayed out of the bathrooms
I won’t go into that because
I know you can’t understand
Around a mourning table of Sicilian focaccia
Washed down with American Co’Cola
Cousins remember the rusty go-carts and funny mini-bikes of their speedy youth
The same stories told at each funeral
So that I almost feel like I was there then
But no, this isn’t my family, I wasn’t there,
I have been adopted as a houseplant
A philodendron, tall and common;
While I fancy throwing other rocks
into other rivers with other kids
Drinking and eating other stuff
[Beverly cream soda and Moon pies]
I don’t belong here.
Any more than a eucalyptus tree outside Oz,
Or Adam outside the garden, that is
So why am I here?
We are all destined in eventual generations
The undecideds always leave sometime
For their 50 miles of elbow room
And that can’t be taken back (no do-overs)
as you will sooner or later
and lost I don’t know what
and gained I don’t know what
how could you?
how could I?
Only that the lust for peculiarity
means my grandchildren will call this weird place
when they leave it
on that same ferry.