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The Unexpected Holiday

With steel-cold blue
all over its lips
the big bad wolf
up and died
and to celebrate
all able-bodied men
wore black suits
with little white lilacs
in their lapels
they were sober clean
right down to their
spit-shined shoes
it was a city
full of elated men
who walked the streets
with the sound of
loose change jangling
in their front
pant pockets
they were men
intent on enjoying
the unexpected holiday
a city of men
who could engage
in any pleasure
their hearts desired
blowing cigar smoke
into a cloudless sky
they passed the hours away
but even in
the rush of excitment
they never once
considered tap dancing
around the big May pole
one hairy hand
holding the next
in full circles
shoulder deep
like they
had seen done
in Hollywood movies.

Delayed Departures

After six hours of rigorous interrogation
I confess to a fear of the mortal world
and am issued a permit to leave. I am
allowed to walk to the station unescorted,
and at exactly eight-thirty p.m. the
express train arrives as scheduled but
does not stop. It goes right on by, shaking
the ground in its wake, blowing around
the limp skirts of women foolish enough to
stand close to the tracks. But having never
been close to anything, I stand near the
exit door to the stuffy waiting room. For
a moment, I am lost in utter blankness,
while inside, four walls reveal ancient
paint that long ago forgot what color it
was, and a half-dozen wooden benches with
their own tales to tell. but I am in no
mood to listen. I can only wonder what to
do now, as ominous dark clouds gather in
the east, moving like refugees reluctant
to leave their possessions behind. No one
is prepared for nasty weather. There will
be no emergency broadcast as innocent
moving waters sweep bridges into adjacent
nations. Perhaps the train senses this, as
it rushes by in a blur of windows that
spill out light to balance a summer's
dusk. In any case, within a couple of
minutes it fades out of sight, leaving
only a brief stunned silence gradually
giving way to the sound of raindrops, and
then a steady determined downpour, one
intent on creating its own unique drowned
look to the surrounding landscape. The
sky seems to cry, and if tears were not
rationed, I would too, allowing them to
run down my cheeks, craving canyons of
deep grooves vast enough to disappear in.