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A dream of living by the Salton Sea January 29, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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“Tell me when,” she said with a wink,

“We can lose the vodka, forget the drink,”

nodding toward her bedroom with soft eyes.

But I was thinking burger, Coke and fries.

She could have shrugged off my faux pas

instead of saying “You got a lot of balls.”

Then she laughed like it was par for the course

and I thought to myself, consider the source.

Someone told her early on I had relationship issues,

that she should have plenty of eye drops and tissues.

She denied it, wrote it off to jealous friends.

I caught her off the bounce, at her wit’s ends.

“Why don’t we play tennis or jog Lincoln Park?”

she urged me on Saturday mornings while it was still dark.

I could have rolled over, pulled the blanket over my head,

but I’d get up, shake myself awake and smile instead.

She tolerated my alumni coffee cups, me SEC, she Big Ten;

even my small college Master’s, hers from Michigan.

Never a note of condescension in her actions, in her tone;

and I knew we were soul mates down in my bones.

In Spring we’d sit outside a Starbucks and she’d smoke a cigarillo.

I might have feigned a frown but she put up with my brass armadillo.

“I won it in a poker game in Dallas,” she knew the story well.

“It’s a heavy piece, could be used as a weapon, you can never tell.”

We could have visited Wrigley Field every day for the ambiance,

then the Cubs started winning and, like everyone, we fell into a trance.

We celebrated a World Series victory and yelled at the parade

I smuggled Jack and Coke and she brought gin and lemonade.

So, I could ruminate all night about when and how she left me,

chasing an elusive dream of living by the Salton Sea,

but life goes on, no river of tears or recriminations cover the facts.

Often when love is staring straight at you it’s stabbing you in the back.

Fresh mojita in hand January 14, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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The background music was faint

while the ocean tumbled and rolled

overtaking the sand before receding

but I could swear it was playing “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.

I wasn’t sure about the mood it was supposed to set but I smiled

and surveyed Marco Island’s beach expanse,

at points empty and at others clustered with people

some with children chased by harried parents

and chastised by doting grandparents.

It’s not often I get here, to relax in a cabana, fresh mojita in hand,

no smartphone to intrude, no tablet to distract me.

Just sound of wind and surf and I have come to understand

and appreciate those who are beckoned by its call —

flocking here, or Key West, or St. Pete Beach.

It’s a noisy peacefulness. It allows you to set aside,

if only for a few hours, whatever is pulling you back to your world.

From this spot, the phone calls and clients can wait,

and the email box can stack up like planes waiting to land at O’Hare,

but they will wait and I will get to them in due time.

Just not today. Just not today.

Of what was and what might have been January 2, 2017

Posted by vsap in Blogroll, Poetry, Uncategorized.
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We don’t take alleys anymore.

We stick to well-lit streets

and avoid underpasses and tunnels.

Those well-traveled paths were second nature

to every kid in the neighborhood.

Today, as adults, we know better —

Other days and other ways, I’ve heard it said —

But I never believed I’d see it in my lifetime.

It’s like a death in the family.

Once friendly streets now dangerous, blood-stained,

carelessly littered, a landscape of burned out bungalows:

That one where the Wilsons lived; over there, Sean’s home;

And, there, Billy’s, where we spent hours playing stick ball,

sandlot football and climbed to the shade of his tree house.

Today the house is leveled, and the yard is dirt and broken glass.

There is no hope of urban renewal, no rebuilding will be done.

I try to convince myself that there was nothing I could do about it,

that, over the arc of thirty years, I was not endowed with money

or political power to effect a change and I left it for a warm climate.

Yet, the visits are a reminder of what was and what might have been

and what will never be given the culture and the times.

I drive in my rented car, half in fear, half in awe

of what I’m witnessing and what I’m imagining:

Neat brick homes, well-manicured yards and friends beckoning to play.