By Thomas Michael McDade
Annie wrote her father’s obit
and said he was a poet
which her mother says
is a lie.
Annie recalls a childhood
trip to Charlottesville
in his big green Oldsmobile
to see a window
where Poe had scrawled
a verse using a diamond
for a pen.
Annie’s mother won’t say
why her husband ran away
to live in slums with books,
cheap beer and wine
but does admit
to a diamond tie tack
won in a poker game.
Annie fears his scary addresses
but not the textile mills
where he worked graveyard shifts.
From parking lots she stares
at dusty windows
like a pilgrim.
“For What It’s Worth”
Quitting high school senior year
to hitch to Colorado,
I’m no-need-for-diploma cool
piloting a dump truck and a backhoe
even though I take a bus to work.
No hotplate permitted in my cellar room
so a monthly meal card supplies
my big feed of the day at the Huddle
on College Hill, downtown Boulder.
The folksinger Odetta performs
at the club upstairs but the music piped
in below while I dine
is strictly rock and roll.
Count on The Buffalo Springfield singing
“For What It’s Worth” at least twice.
Once a girl in line questions out loud
why the title is omitted from the lyrics.
Possible term paper topic, she adds.
Nodding weakly in agreement,
I wish I’d stayed in school,
and imagine being part of her crowd.
A pudgy kid with long blond hair
and granny glasses at the register
punches my card without his eyes
leaving his sci-fi paperback.
He doesn’t look up the time I drop
my tray but a kitchen guy runs out,
cleans up my mess pronto and says go
through again, free.
Front money is a charm at the Huddle.
I bump into the “title / lyric” girl
again, nearly bowl her over!
Oddly enough we’re fast friends
and she sometimes saves a card
punch by sneaking me
into a University dining hall.
She and her friends get seconds
And, stuffing my coat pockets
with sandwiches, cookies and cake
cloaked in napkins,
I see myself
as a hobo
Odetta applauds in song.
Thomas Michael McDade is a former computer programmer. He served 2 tours of duty in the U.S. Navy. McDade is a graduate of Fairfield University. He has been published in many magazines and reviews – print and on-line, most recently Crab Meat, Streetcake Magazine and Ink Sweat & Tears.