Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Casino Oatmeal

Casino Oatmeal

A platoon of old guys sits the cafe counter
in Stockman's as I stagger in for a chicken fried steak
and fried eggs ten a.m. breakfast.
A couple geezers look over, so I nod,
and their eyes glint, You're gonna be
sittin' with us in ten years... if you don't
heart attack out... dumb bastard.

The waitress, peroxide-blonde okay at forty,
says, It'll be just a little while, honey.
The geezer closest to me spoons
buttery raspberry oatmeal.
Most of us have Resistols or Stetsons
screwed down on our skulls,
though most are short-brimmed,
sweat-stained grandpa hats.

I think about my daughters...
when they had ragdolls,
Barbies, tea parties
with large hounds.
And I think back to when
my son rode dry ewes,
spurred straw and alfalfa bales
with roughstock hooks and growl.

I think about all the blind miles
on poetry road: cold eyes,
lipsticked bubble lips,
the ruined figures of lady
freshman composition teachers,
motels with not-so-mysterious
coed door knocks after readings,
all the brain-bruised wake-ups
and the rush to the car
to speed down-road.

And I think of poets onward
and away from poetry,
now making stained glass,
or selling hedge funds,
paying bad-house mortgages,
their kids breaking knick-knacks
with hurled skateboards.

Now the old guys
are weaving out of Stockman's,
so I nod again and they nod,
their eyes flashing,
You're gonna get yours...
sure as ugly weather,
sure as BLM stealin' grazing land,
sure as wives pushing vitamin pills,
hip replacements, pointless drives
to Mexico for prostate cancer cures.

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