The local market offered me fresh fruit;
I held a bag of strawberries when Joe,
Film-maker who has never worn a suit,
Asked me to view his latest cut at home.
“This nightmare fogged my mind and followed me,
No matter how I tried to shake it off,
I shot the scenes as best my memory
Conceived it, though I may be growing soft.
Did we win World War II?” he asked his tea
As though I wasn’t there, and slid a disc
Into his player by a Harper Lee
Bird book to which he fixed a paper clip.
“A girl from the north woods gave me this book,”
He said, “when I left Phoenix for her place,
Which had been chaos, but on second look,
A midnight climax spruced up her mad space.”
“How did you feel?” I questioned. “Glad! I . . .Oh,
She made me feel I’d gone through gates to stars,
And we played like Bohemians in a grove,
Like we were space Marines who circled Mars.”
“Why aren’t you with her anymore?” I quizzed.
He caught himself, then wryly said, “Some times
You build a burger and make it sizzle . . .
Sometimes it tastes like Ajax dipped in grime.
What I am telling you . . . you understand?”
“No, here’s a coin if you will tell me more.”
And like a pro he said, “She met a man
Who talked of pizza, cheese, and dominoes,
Who salivated over hot dog stands
And went ballistic if the plumbing leaked,
As though he’d kill the man, for cash in hand,
Who caused it, rich or poor, urbane or geek.”
“So they weren’t meant to be?” “He skipped out on
Her; we’ve lost touch since she went to D.C.—
Another missing D.C. girl–foregone
Conclusion if you knew her company.”
“What of this movie you have filmed?” I asked.
“Inception plays among Joint Chiefs of Staff
Where Pentagon commanders wear black masks
Into great halls where spies take polygraphs
As Clockwork Orange chimes in Dulce base
While horrid mutants whimper underground
And robot soldiers run a close-watched race,
Roswell to Sandy Hook to Proving Ground.
Meanwhile, at Jekyll Island, bankers plot— ”
“I’m sorry, but I must go home to see
The missus,” said I, “and our boy, the tot,
Wants me to help him decorate the tree.”
And Joe I never saw again, though he’d
Sent postcards postmarked only with a “Q”:
The locals found his body late one eve
And deputies recovered his canoe.