Is the corned beef lean or fatty,
I asked the waiter.
Just the way you like it,
He said without pause.
Ever seen me before?
Never, he said.
Then how do you know how I like it?
I have, he said, a waiter’s intuition.
So how’s the corned beef gonna be?
Well, it’s gonna be slightly marbled,
So it’s not too dry,
But with all the fat trimmed around the edges.
Of course, that’s lean
And it’s a buck more.
But um, he said,
Kissing the tips of his fingers…
No seeds, right?
How’d you know?
I told you…waiter’s intuition.
A doctor knocked and breezed into the exam room,
Before I could respond, come in.
And how are we feeling today?
We, I assumed,
Was the accepted clinical reference
To a single patient.
We are fine,
And why are we here?
We are here to make sure,
We actually are fine.
Are we experiencing any problems?
None that we are aware of,
Then, please, can we
Remove our shirt,
So we can see how fine we are.
Measured, thumped and probed, he said
We do seem fine.
We are surely gratified,
But we should be seen again,
About six months hence.
We’ll make an appointment.
Zaviar’s friends (Zaviar with a ‘Z’)
Called him ‘Z’,
Or Zav (small ‘a’, like in lab).
Liking neither, he changed his name
Liking the sound of Cav for short.
It was, he knew, a minor pretention,
Like Diamond Jim or Goldy or Champ,
But one, he knew, his friends would get used to…
After all, they were his friends.
So he filed the papers, paid the fee,
And legally changed his name,
Then introduced himself as Cav.
But his friends, being perverse,
Called him Fish Eggs, instead.
So he changed his friends.
Hallways in school are for going to class…
And breaking up.
In high school she broke up with a boy
On the way to math.
But he wasn’t despondent,
As she hoped he’d be.
He just said okay,
And turned from her and walked away.
Not even a ‘why’,
Or a ‘what did I do’,
Or a ‘what can I do to get you back.
Ten years later she saw him again.
He admitted then with self-confident grace,
That day in school he turned from her,
He had tears in his eyes,
Since the gleeful ease of having a girl
Was all of a sudden snatched away.
I knew it, I knew it,
I knew it, she said,
Despairing for years,
That he didn’t care.
As I walked from you,
Carolyn Canfield winked at me,
So I knew right away, I’d be okay.
The ship of sleep
Left the dock,
And I wasn’t on it.
It gathered speed from harbor-slow
To open ocean,
As I exhausted myself, waving both arms,
Trying to get its attention and slow it down
To get aboard.
But it steamed to the horizon
And then disappeared.
Alert as a squirt of lemon juice,
Was left trying to reason myself to sleep.
The last two bites I always eat,
I well could do without…
Those last two bites at every meal,
And lean expands to stout.
Those plates with only two bites left,
Compulsively I’ll neaten,
Then think I really shouldn’t have
Just after they’ve been eaten.
She did reveal with blushing pride
A small role to her mom and dad,
She recent in a movie had.
My debut role, a lucky break,
To get my feet wet, so to speak…
Could you both come and take a peek?
Your film we took in, modest daughter,
And now with hosts of others viewed
You in the all-together, nude.
Companioned by a nude man, too.
My stepping stone to costumed part,
Just naked now for sake of art.
It’s more, though, than we needed see,
For nude and fondled somewhat lacks
The heft of parts in which one acts.
But now a cautionary tale,
Be discreet, when telling others,
So…not a word to your grandmothers.
Red-flag the words,
Yeah, me too,
If in response to
I love you.
It raises issues to beware of
That true love, truly,
Should despair of.
The elevator opened
On a hallway bound for lingerie…
A corridor of plush divans
And easy chairs
And Persian carpets under foot…
And smirky looks at men who dare
To browse for gifts of underthings.
Once arrived, well-scrutinized,
I scanned the room for other men,
But seeing none
I blanched and thought,
Perhaps, I’m where I don’t belong…
Like in a ladies’ locker room.
Oh, God, must be and, mortified,
I fled back down the corridor,
Sneered at by a self-appointed
Mistress of this all-girls club,
Who, glaring over glasses, asked me,
Aren’t you in the wrong place, bub?
And flustered, I,
Towards crowds of anonymity.
How are you?
It is well understood,
Is a question to which
The answer is, good.
It is not meant to indicate
Interest in knowing,
The details of how good,
Or not, things are going.
To say, since you asked…
At casual meetings
Would abuse the intent
Of rhetorical greetings.