Saturday 5 February 2022

Four Poems by Wayne F. Burke


 

Old

 

A log-jam at the EXIT

of the supermarket--

an elderly couple doddering

in the doorway...

A woman with cart ahead of

me: "what are they doing?" she

demands. "Plow into them," I say.

"No, I won't."

A woman behind says "they

do not give a shit about

anybody."

The white-haired codger

tugs on his missus' sleeve as

they move, slow as cold

molasses...

The woman ahead gives me

a "look," eyes above her

black mask.

I feel like kicking her

in the ass. "They are old," I say, but

neither woman, front or back

gives a shit

about that.



 

Air Force

 

outside of the CNS Pharmacy

a guy walks up to me

says "Air Force, unit bla bla bla, Pensacola, Florida."

He offers to shake but I am not buying

whatever this Gomer is selling.

"Locked my keys in my car," he says, "can you

give me a lift up the street to my hotel? I will pay you

twenty dollars."

Skinny and crew-cut, intense eyes behind glasses.

"Sure, hop in."

He sits. "Ever been in the military?"

"No. Shit on that."

He jerks in his seat: "What is the matter?

Don't you love your country?"

I side-glance him as I increase speed.

"Sure I do. Just do not like anyone telling me

what to do."

"I have been in eight years. Best eight years of my life.

Let me out here."

I pull over and he troops out...

 

Never did give me the twenty.

 

 

Day Dreaming

 

while walking down the street

I step off a curb and

a car flashes past--

the width of a coat of paint

between us: "whoa!"

one of the yahoos inside

yells, as

the car swerves

and I catch my breath, check

to see if my leg 

still attached, then

get pissed, and

scream

"you ASSHOLE!"

But the car,

already to the 

end of the street,

does not even

hear me.

 

 

Ache

 

I left the game with

a stomach ache and

walked off the field

with Gramp, his

hand on my shoulder:

"you must have patience,

my boy," he said.

I did not need advice--

Grandma gave out more than

enough--

I did need the hand on

my shoulder though (something

Grandma never gave).

My stomach ached for days:

Gramp drove me to the hospital

in the big city.

I lay on the examination table

on top the crinkly paper--

a young man doctor told me

to roll over.

After he pulled my pants down

I pulled them back up.

"I have to look," he said,

his face red.

"Let him," Gramp said,

his face also red...

On the ride home

Gramp told me that

I had worms.

The windshield wipers beat in time

so  what

so  what

"how did I get worms?"

"from something you ate."

I thought of what I had

eaten.

Meanwhile, the rain smeared the windshield

and the wipers picked up the tempo:

tough luck

tough luck

tough luck.


Wayne F. Burke's poetry has been widely published online and in print. He is author of 8 published full-length poetry collections, most recently BLACK SUMMER, Spartan Press, 2021. He lives in the Green Mountain State, Vermont (USA).

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