1991 • page 8

Home Poetry 1991 • page 8

August 25    Trouble with Keys

He was an overweight man
to say the least
his belly extended abundantly
past his hidden belt.
It was literally car tire size
of that I am sure.

We followed him up the cement staircase
to the third floor,
a door on the left.
The keys in his hand jingled
as his body tugged along.

At the door he tried several keys
sweat dripping from his upper lip.
He stuck them in with a scrape
and jiggled impatiently.
None would turn the lock.

“If he took those keys,” he mumbled.
We watched patiently.
What was behind the door?
He reached deep into his front pocket,
drew another set out, six or seven keys.

These he tried as before
jiggling the lock more impatiently,
flipping through one key after another.
“Jesus, I was just up here this morning.”

He reached into his pocket and pulled out
a third set.
We looked in wonder at the pocket that
appeared full of hefty leg,
the pocket that showed no sign of keys.

“I’m not going to get angry,” he said.
His face was flushed
and he pushed and tugged violently
at the chintzy brass knob.

He’ll drop dead of a heart attack, I thought.
We stared at the wooden door.
What was behind it?

When he reached his hand into his pocket
for a fourth time
pulling out yet another full set of keys
we broke out in giggles.
Where in the heck were they all coming from?

August 31

“That’s alright,” he said.
“I take five myself sometimes.”
He had asked me
if I wanted paper or plastic,
and I hadn’t responded;
was preoccupied with Boris Becker
on the cover of People
and York Peppermint Patties.


September 1

New room and a cricket chirps.
The night air has turned crisp
though the neighbors still air condition.

The walls are bare and white
I imagine pictures on them.

It’s a nice room, pleasing
but it does not feel like mine.

September 11

Halfway through September
get a schedule
and time flies.

I remember
reading whole newspapers
novels for hours
scrunched up in a bamboo chair
from Pier 31
waiting for a phone call and
passing the time away.

Alone, I sipped and sucked the moments
chewing carefully and
wiping my face with a napkin
to remove the crumbs
from the corner of my mouth.

Living alone
time doubles, triples
Living with two
it halves, then quarters and dissolves.

We gobble and slurp down minutes now
seconds dribbling down our chins.


September 14

Young Capitol Hill parties
youth in suits and ties
women in form fitting checked skirts
straight cut hair
and blouses tucked in

How can you remember names
at a Capitol Hill party?
It’s all Bill and Mike
John and Paul
Jeff and Mark.
It’s all suit and tie
Tie and suit,
Suit and tie.