POEM: The Sport of Kings (with apologies to Hemingway)

The Sport Of Kings
(with apologies to Hemingway)

I was fucking
a good-looking kid
from Baltimore
whose uncle owned
a great horse
(Spectacular Bid)

feeling like family
I rooted him home
to win the Derby
two weeks later
it was the Preakness
when he lost the Belmont
I felt like shit
then the kid
takes off for Maryland
when she gets back
it’s not the same

I don’t know
sometimes   it seems
they don’t leave
a guy   nothin’



101 Great American Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)

POEM: Waugh


Evelyn Waugh
wrote the following

to know and love
another person
is the beginning
of all wisdom

if this is true
my darling Nan
my English girl
you have made me
the wisest fool
in all the world

POEM: Survivor



the beautiful bongo

the rarest of antelope

is sensitive as a burn

mishandling alone

may cause its death


a red-headed Jew

(a lesser rarity)

I more than sympathize

the time my girl

left our home

closing the door

upon my guts

I wanted to die

but went on living

(if this is living)

without her



101 Great American Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)

POEM: Pop Tune



Paul Bley

the jazz pianist

has a marvelous track

of The Nearness Of You

one of Hoagy Carmichael’s

great songs

I played it for Kayo

and she loved it

she uses it on

her demo tape

and always plays it

when I visit her gigs

recognizing the tune

I look up

and we smile at each other

across the room



this night the song

moves me to tears

it brings to mind

another time

when one lived

for love and desire

not recognizing them

as  way-stations

Kayo   of course

only sees my smile

and that’s the way

I prefer it



when the set ends

she walks to my table

her smile like a gift

and asks   you liked it

what do you think


I think of loss and regret

of a wife gone

and of a mother

who died alone

I say   you played it

beautifully   Kayo




101 Great American Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)

POEM: Erica

sitting alone

upon the bench

in front of Murray’s

an old lady

fragile   forlorn

facing the void

I sit beside her

I say   hello

she turns my way

surprised   delighted

we exchange names

Marvin   Erica

she turns back

to face the void

life is very sad

isn’t it   Marvin

she says to me

yes  it is   I reply

there comes a time

to tell the truth

even in America




101 Great American Poems (Dover Thrift Editions)