I Miss Miss Near-Miss Congeniality

I once dated—and I’m not making this up–
not quite a Miss Congeniality, but a runner-up
at the Miss Massachusetts Teenager Pageant
Yes—she was my lady, and I was her gent.

Image result for miss congeniality teen pageant

I met her on the outbound T
we both got off at Copley Square.
She was more than congenial enough for me
and had blonde highlights in brunette hair.

Image result for copley square t station

We started to talk of this and that–
actually, to be more specific–
about a crazy guy who jabbered as we sat,
stifling laughs at his dementia tres horrific.

Image result for crazy guy subway

I suppose that’s a flaw that would hurt your chance
if you revealed it when asked a beauty pageant question.
“Are there any social causes that you like to advance?”
“No but I crack up at guys with manic depression.”

Image result for teen beauty pageant question

We went out for a while, I had just hit thirty,
but no matter how hard I tried to get her into the sack
she resolutely refused to do anything dirty.
She’d go away for the weekend, and call when she got back.

Image result for copley square bar dave mckenna

I never quite pieced her personality together;
We eventually stopped seeing each other.
I needed a girlfriend who was more than fair weather,
not always running off to take care of her mother.

And so I miss Miss Congeniality (runner-up),
fate dashed her from my lips like a flowing cup.
We coulda been something, her and me,
but instead she’s just part of my yuppie history.
Image result for crazy guy subway

I suppose there’s a lesson, however odd,
for all who would strike up an acquaintanceship
on public transportation, with a beautiful broad:
a lunatic’s not enough to sustain a relationship.

The Night of the Red Sox Living Dead

One afternoon, while heading home
Upon a hot commuter train,
I fell asleep, and dreamed this poem,
As summer’s light began to wane.

I saw a scene of baseball’s past
When stadiums were built to last
With brick-and-ivy outfield walls
Bombarded hard by sluggers’ balls.

And every man, and every maid
Would swelter in the noon-day heat.
And by the time the game’d been played
They’d smell as bad as postmen’s feet.

My reverie became a wish
That bordered close on heresy:
That Fenway Park, the Red Sox home,
Become an air-conditioned dome.

And as I slept the train rolled on
Past Back Bay then to Newtonville,
My narcoleptic state absorbed
What otherwise was time to kill.

Through Wellesley Farms to Wellesley Hills
And Wellesley Square I slept.
Through Natick and West Natick too
The engineer appointments kept.

When hot and groggy I awoke
To the conductor’s awful yawp,
The scenery out my window showed
We’d rolled four stations past my stop.

I stumbled off the train to see
A wave of fans in front of me
With baseball caps upon their heads
That bore the letter “B” in red;

it was–

The Night of the Red Sox Living Dead.

Their heads had swelled (or was it mine,
That lay asleep for all that time?)
“Ortiz” and “Schilling” on their backs.
With wild surmise and looks quite wacked.

They staggered towards me, two by two,
I froze, then turned and tried to flee.
Well, what exactly would you do,
If I were you, and you were me?

They seemed intent on mayhem mad
Or maybe something even worse.
As I imagined just how bad,
A mother hit me with her purse.

“Get out the way, we’re comin’ through!”
She screamed from deep within her lungs.
She pushed a snot-nosed kid or two–
Why is youth wasted on the young?

I stumbled back on to the train
Not knowing how or even why.
Crushed flat beneath a press of flesh
I thought that I was going to die.

We rattled back towards the town
From whence I’d come when wide awake,
Squeezed tight so I could make no sound
Squashed flatter than sardine pancakes.

West Natick first, plain Natick next
By Wellesley Square I’d caught my breath.
“Excuse me,” I could finally say,
“I’m getting off, my stop is next.”

“This guy here thinks he’s getting off!”
A ghoulish fan saw fit to scoff,
And then a chilly chorus said,
“He didn’t say the magic word!”

I racked my brain both high and low,
Then left, then right and upside down.
What sound would cause the zombie hoard
To let me off at Wellesley town?

I couldn’t think, I had to beg,
“Please tell me,” I implored a girl.
“I’m really not too bad an egg,
If not the nicest in the world.”

She looked at me with deep brown eyes
That bore through me like fine drill bits
A loyal fan, quite undersized,
She’d brought along a catcher’s mitt.

Child of the Damned, in schoolgirl clothes,
A tartan kilt of blue and green;
She wore a pair of Mary Janes
Her brown locks tossed by breeze unseen.

“If you want to get off this train
In Wellesley Square, one stop away
You’ll have to say the magic word!
Or ride with us to Yawkey Way!”

I didn’t want to go that far, I’d rather
–if the truth be known–
Be sitting in my easy chair
And watch the stupid game at home.

She read my mind by ESP
The zombies then advanced on me.
“Just say the simple syllable
And we’ll ride on while you go free!”

My mouth was dry, no words would come
I guess you’d say I’d been struck dumb.
In fear I struck a fetal pose,
And on they came, as zombies come.

The little girl sank to the floor
Like Jolson, skidding on her knees,
And screamed “You silly nimmynot–
The word you need to say is ‘Please’!”

Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection “Red Sox and Yankees: Why Can’t We Be Enemies?”

Zoot Sims on the Booze Cruise

As I recall, he got top billing, as was
his due, which meant you had to wait
through somebody else’s set to hear him.

On the way out of the harbor, with some
people there just for the night in the
ocean air, and the booze, of course,

there was some jostling for place, but
it was nothing more than you would
encounter on a city pavement at lunch hour,

and it accomplished zilch; there were
several hours to go and by that time,
those who had come for the dating and the mating

would be sloshed out of their minds, resting
against the wooden benches like distraught
mourners at a funeral, waiting for the death

of tomorrow’s hangover. Then you could
make your move, and hear one of the great
tenors of his time, when those who didn’t

know what they had bought tickets for
had given up. I came down from the upper
deck and found standing room behind the

band, a perfect view of the man I’d first heard
on an EP of The Four Brothers of Woody Herman’s
band and wondered—what kind of mother names

her kid Zoot? He had the unknowing and the
cognoscenti in the bell of his horn, his warm tone
taking the chill off the early summer eve.

And down front I saw a mirror image of myself,
but a little hipper; tapping his foot, a carefully-
chosen baseball cap on his head, while I was

still in a business suit. He was more self-conscious of
his attire on a night where time had warped,
and it was an evening before he and I had been born.

I’m Immune to Their Charms

Willie Nelson, Frank Sinatra,
Hours and hours of Wagner’s operas;
I’m not saying they’ll do you harm–
It’s just that–I’m immune to their charms.

Artichokes and juicy rare steaks,
Home-made pineapple upside-down cakes,
Served with a cherry, cold or warm–
either way, I’m immune to their charms.

Boiled lobster, ample rears,
Romantic movies that bring my wife tears,
Outdoor plumbing at gentlemen’s farms–
One and all, I’m immune to their charms.

It’s not as if I got a shot
That inoculated me.
All these things may go to your head
but they don’t intoxicate me.

Nature not nurture is to blame–
I don’t know what else to say.
This stuff may bring pleasure, I know it’s a shame–
can’t help it–I was born this way.

Mafia movies, flicks about spies,
fashionable specs on unfashionable eyes.
Genteel novels that thrill school marms,
One and all, I’m immune to their charms.

Sports talk radio, German wines,
You can have ‘em, I’ll be fine.
Little red ants all alone or in swarms–
Either way–I’m immune to their charms.

The Sure Cure for Writer’s Block

She takes her lattes extra skinny.
She drives a Cooper, it’s a Mini.
But when she takes pen in hand to put black on white,
the sad truth is—she can’t write.

His political opinions are properly aligned
towards the conventional wisdom, he’s inclined.
But as much as he tries to get his sentiments right,
His problem is—he can’t write.

They’ve taken the courses, responded to “prompts,”
you’d think that the scribbling part would be a romp.
But as much as they look like writerly types
They’re incapable of what’s known in the trade as “sitzfleisch”:

The ability to sit for hours on end,
to ignore dog, cat, internet, family and friends,
with your butt in your chair,
while your head’s in the air–

that’s what it takes if you want to give shape,
to airy nothingness, not a mouth all agape,
and an eye towards fashion and the au courant dance,
it’s the very opposite of ants in your pants.

Sons of the Idle Rich

The  market’s up, the market’s down
It doesn’t  matter which . . .
With stocks and  bonds and puts and calls
In just the  proper mix.
You’re clipping  coupons, cashing checks
Without a single  hitch . . .
Sons of the  I-dle Ri-ich.

You’ve  got enough to pay the price
For every basic  need . . .
Like ascots,  scotch and cashmere socks
And polo pony  feed.
Your dad he’s got a mistress
‘cause your mom she is a bitch . . .
Sons of the  I-dle Ri-ich.

Whenever you’re  attracted to a woman who is hot . . .
You try to woo  and win her with a sail upon your yacht.
You imitate a rapper when you ask your friends “Wassup?”
It clashes with  your interest in this year’s America’s Cup!

Your  form upon the squash court
is a sight not to be missed.
You finish hot and sweaty
but expect that you’ll be kissed
by girls with names like “Carter”
and end up drunk in a ditch . . .
Sons of the  I-dle Ri-ich.


Imported Beers of the Romantic Poets

She is a thing of beauty.  Stella Artois ad, depicting woman drinking beer


A Thing of Beauty is a Beer Forever, John Keats

A thing of beauty is a beer forever:
Its foamy head increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will leave
A residue upon the glass, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, belches, and late-night peeing.

She Burps in Beauty, Like a Frog, Lord Byron

She burps in beauty, like a frog
Who sits on lily pad so green,
Resounding nightly in his bog
But to my beery eyes unseen;
Thus mellow’d by a Stella Artois
I urge her not to make a scene.

My Luve’s Like a Cold, Cold Beer, Robert Burns

O my Luve’s like a cold, cold beer
That’s newly poured for me;
O my Luve’s like an I.P.A.
A barkeep gives to me for free.

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
Another to me is more dear:
I drink you in with thirsty eyes
But still I need imported beer.