Concrete Front Door Steps
Sunny Days At Home
When you have to work,
a sunny day is a Yellow Pages day,
a day when the phone company rep comes
for a meeting you've forgotten, and asks you
what do you think about what you never think about
and how does that work for you, anyway?
and what'll it be for the next year?
and the threat of future meetings
while I sit there in my underwear and bathrobe
why'd I let this guy in? wondering
if the lord of the flies was salesmens' chatter.
Returning home on a sunny day
is like the fifteen wide and high,
the concrete steps leading to beitenu;
never an easy walk up,
while the upstairsike looks out her
window at me, the drapes covering
her beet red rouge-
a Russian immigrant face
with a tsar's ermine stole resting
on her upper lip! -
and she looks with empty eyes
and her lips move like conspirators
whispering to her cell phone...
when I was young, a youth,
I'd hang around stairs like this
hanging on warm nights
filled with the liquid mishnah
of life's ancient laws.
Now it's just a horse-race vasculitis,
and varicose veins bulge
like the grocery bags I hold.
Eating inside the house...
on a sunny day...
dust like whole wheat flour
from the mills of sunlit
barred, mortared, and flimsy curtain windows;
I want to eat, but even treif feel pain:
lobsters shriek in an incomprehensible
language of the lost when thrust into
the boiling pot on Salem's stove,
and I am so used to slaughter now,
that I sit at the omnivore table
and care not kosher nor halal
if God can not save the sunny days
from the onset of this darkness...
give back the steps where children played,
where the iron railing's legs
resist the rust of time
and do not loosen at their base
to swing crazily at the grasp
and let me fall
into the cheap shrubs in
their dusty dirty beds!
beitenu = our home = baituna (arabic) It has a taste of Israeli politics: Mr. Avigdor Liebermann.
upstairsike = yiddish-english for the people living upstairs in a apartment building.
mishnah = commentary on the Law
treif = not kosher under jewish dietary regs.
kosher = jewish dietary regulations.
halal = muslim dietary regulations