I wanted
to see where time
worshipped you
we did not grow old together
and time ravaged
rather than revered


city hall
mode of reflections
of glorious past
recounted memory
how we longed to sit
wave to fellow travelers
who on Sunday
became republicans
and lost their comradery


tattoos are not scars
they seek protection
from imperfect life


in this town
republicans dance with lesbians
and call them saints
they need no reminders
that the revolution
has yet to be fought


he grins ghoulishly
an oxymoronic surprise
of suspenders
and nipple piercing
he wonders where
the time went
stomps his
half-smoked camel
and goes back inside


in a small park
just off state street
children play
with their tears
bright eyes
and smiles
leaning to
profound indifference
without dimples


I ask the massage lady
if she will accept a poem
for a back rub
she prefers cash to poetry
I persist
and say
that my
instant message
can be as profound
and rewarding as an
instant massage
I pay her the 12 bucks
for 15 minutes
of muscle exertion
at less than
a dollar a minute
it seems worth it
makes me wonder
how much poetry is worth
but perhaps she cannot
read my words
as well as she can
read my bones


the sign
hanging high
above the newspaper
Union News
Sunday Republican
I wondered
if they were
during the rest of the week


on these
not so mean streets
the women look
as haggard as the men
the strong
new England winters
make it difficult
to weather life storms


I attempt
to penetrate eyes
like obsidian
and am rebuffed
by glaciers
they seem
to wear fences
like good neighbors


the most beautiful
meter maid
I have ever seen
strolls by
ticket pad
in one hand
pen in the other
ready for action

I sigh relief
when she does not
ticket me for writing
poetry in an unauthorized zone
her long brownish pony tail
waves goodbye
stretching down to her
well-thought out
khaki-covered thigh

I imagine her homespun smile
returning the favor
as she puts her foot up
on the chair next to me
leans over in a uniform
brutal from ironing
each button erect on principle

writing a little fast there bub
she says to me
I look up
caught up in waifish wolfish grin
trying to inlay my dimples on hers
I have learned that it is wise
to be charming while i am writing
it throws people off
from my razor hewn words
no ma’am
I say
am keeping my words
right at the speed limit

my pen is not a smoking gun
it does not urinate on walls
it sits coolly casual
in my fingers
idling in flirtatious cop adventure

well it seems to me
that you were writing
a little recklessly back there
a couple of pages ago
she drawls out in New England
landscape accent

I look down at my notebook
and sure enough
my scrawl has abandoned
its lines
I look back up to her
blushing my only defense
caught red-handed
I stutter and stammer
an excuse

she cuts me off
at the turn of phrase
those dimples twinkling
I am going to have to cite you
for writing titillating words
in a crosswalk

my thoughts momentarily arrested
I wonder how she knew
I am ready to write words
of futile resistance
and scratch her words out
but she is packing heat
a double-edged pen
withdrawn from her holster
and I am out of ink

she indelibly writes her
phone number
on my palm
and swaggers away


he entertained the women
at the edge of the sidewalk
100-year-old honkey tonk hero
harmonica whispering at his lips
eyes so old they can barely remember
but now he only has eyes for the ladies
greets every female
like long lost love
locating amorous minefields
uncovering raw stones of
femme fatale
honing them down with blarney
and harmonic improvisation
eyes twinkling euphemism
standing on street corner
serenading senoritas


she walks with honest wounds
her heart beating 100%
earthbound but not surrendered
she carries memories
that others have forgotten
in worn shopping bags

she never looked for creature comfort
she has been abandoned to the wind
she does not age
the icons of earth
embroidered on her shroud
she is mother provider
but more than that
she is spurned angel
and rabbi

she is the papyrus
we write upon
and the ink that flows
timid river of water gentle

she is the weapon taking aim
and the shells exploding
from the bowels of life

her song rifles
through loose winds
she is all
she is peace
and war
pestilence and plenty

she walks with honest wounds


she replied
bow or scrape

a smile
her frown

Larry Jaffe