Fiction   Essays   Poetry  The Ten On Baseball Chapbooks In Memory

Harold Janzen

tom waits

      (for gabriel)

                  out of nowhere tom
waits at the corner of two famous street
while progress liquefies      turns
a honey like consistency
flowing into the velvet underground
he takes a coffee shop in thru a hundred dollar bill
  looks at his plans     but
has lost most of his concrete karma at ground zero
his nose to the grindstone
      the weather consuming the landscape

painting by numbers
tom becomes distracted
watching for whistles and belles
in the flotsam of the golden
sweetness    he takes what is left
of his trinkets and swallows a drink along with the mystery
there were big questions
to ask the traffic lights
about last nightís rotisserie

was there a sailor named gabriel
on a sailboat named angel
an old radio that went oddly with the music
of the spheres

oh it was a busy little medley
that memory

had gabriel and tom made history together
poured from a gin bottle
and chased with that white parrot fizz

blazing down a snow hill in a green skinned
wooden ribbed canoe
tom barrelhousing the blues
and gabriel steering a line thru the white mecca powder
with a paddle for a spoon
it was a good way to circle the earth in a balloon
or at least thatís how tom sang that confused
chop story to the judge
of rhymes

wow    tom was lucky enough to get thru that turbulence
a bruise and a hefty line           and of course
being careful       only out on bail

as for gabriel
wherefore art thou shouts tom

where the hell was gabriel
jekyll and hyde
maybe thankful for the calm no doubt
before the storm of these words

she seemed unpredictable in the impossible traffic


                  she seemed unpredictable in the impossible traffic
                         slipping thru the
            sultry weather
                  stampede of auto
                                        -matic responses
but got me to the train on time

she was like the tropics in my hair   i couldnít shake
her image stirred up my subconscious    she was the butterchurn
for my internal dialogue over the hilly country
i hope she made it back to the coast safely


                  she read          in the shadow of an umbrella

                                        and wrote to her diary
                                          some sort of farewell    carefully
building her sentences in order to stabilize
                  her reality alone
                  eventually stepping from the footing of her pages
                                 out from underneath
             and into the unusually bright sunlight
        wading into the tide
     and finally     detaching herself temporarily from the
   architecture of time
                  diving perfectly into the fathomless    the
brilliantly blue sky that moved thru her body
                  descending into the delicate curvature
                  of the beautifully shaped moment

                  and vanished into the cool surprise of the bay

                  along with the fiery drama of the sunset
                   he found himself looking thru
by memory
                   the pages he knew from the diary
                  and with the abandon of its bindings
                  so strongly entwined
                                    he sat
                                    by himself
                                            looking out from the high elevation
                                                       buoyant with the possibility of her
                  return to the strong potion he was mixing

                  his mind like the mirror express    he imagined
                  that she could step out from
                  or possibly from the inversion of the sky itself
                  out of the station of its middle distance

                  them both
smiling    once again breathing the stimulant

©2004 by Harold Janzen

Harold Janzen says "I ran into a friend I hadn't seen in a long while. He was writing a film script, but said he was too bored and distracted by the many sequels to his white bread day job. We agreed that our only means was to sharpen the carrot at the end of the stick. At least we would be getting our vegetables."
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