disaster strikes the peculiar

by Gabriel Ricard

When that school bus
hauls ass down my street
it always manages to get my attention.

I could be up to my neck in wet cement,
or the fifth horsemen of the apocalypse
could be once again talking my ear off
with all his bitter opinions about history,
and I’m still gonna pay attention to that thing when it drives by.

It’s a lot of wasted curiosity. I’m too lazy to hold a cabbie
at gunpoint and tell him to follow it all the way to the end,
but I’m still willing to speculate on where the hell it’s going,
since the school closed down twenty years ago.

Better than wasted comedy. I hold onto my jokes
for dear life these days. No telling when a church group
is going to realize that my right knee has never been the same
since that awful night on the town. Then there’s always the chance
that there will someday be enough LSD
in the water to make me appealing to women again.

I pay painfully close attention to the wild blue yonder,
and I’m not as quick as I used to be at forgiving my enemies.

Running into them when I get lost in San Francisco’s
Japan district is fine. Just fine. We shake hands, trade insults,
keep quiet when the laugh track is turned way up and make plans
to see the other one burn in hell before our grandkids’ wedding.

I stick to my guns until it’s time to buy some new ones
from the loneliest silent auction in recent memory.

There’s always something on the cheap. There’s always something
to believe in when literature has let you down for the last time. I like to go
because it’s better than the coffee I make at home. It’s also nice to think
that I might run into somebody who used to be famous.

Keeping me entertained isn’t as hard as it used to be.
In fact if I can just hold out a little while longer,
enough of my memories might go to allow me to start
watching those old sitcoms again.

That’s the dream. That’s why I stick to wearing the same kind of clothes
year in and year out. I want to be recognized by the only house on the street
with all its lights on.

I want to be welcomed inside with open arms
and genuine affection.


Posted on 10/07/2010
Copyright © 2022 Gabriel Ricard

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by V. Blake on 10/07/10 at 10:31 PM

Brilliant, as per usual. Interesting wording of the second stanza--had to go back and reread the first couple of lines after thinking you were saying you were the fifth horseman. Was that intended?

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