The driver in front of me was drunk last night
so I followed to make sure he got home okay.
He did well. He gave me a thumbs up.
Driving back home I asked myself:
What good did I just do?
What would I have done if he swerved?
What if he hit someone on the sidewalk?
Would I honk?
That wouldn’t help.
Would I wait until the next stoplight,
roll down my window,
mime a crank motion,
“what the hell, dude?
You just killed that person.”
There is nothing I could have done, really.
But tonight I feel like a better person,
because I took his stupid decision,
and didn’t really act, but later turned it
into a poem about nothing instead,
in the same way you imagine
what the world would be like
If all of your electronics required a rip-cord
engine like the kind on a on a weed-whacker.
You want to use your cell phone?
Pump the gas bubble and give it a crank.
You want to use your laptop?
Push the choke down and ease off.
Give it a crank.
You want to start your car?
Turn the key.
My dog is getting restless, so I must cease with examples.
He has positioned himself on the bed to paw me in the face.
The time is 3AM and the couple upstairs is rapping along with a 50 Cent song.
The girl is 85 pounds, chest tattoos, ponytail, blue eyes, tongue ring,
and slightly crooked teeth. I like the way she looks at me.
Her boyfriend and I graduated high school together.
His name is Bolt and he was the only male cheerleader I have ever known.
He joined the cheer squad after being kicked off the football team,
because one day he showed up to practice in steel-toed work boots
because he forgot his cleats at home. The coach took one look
and told him to get the fuck off the field.
Today in the dirt parking lot behind our house he spoke about how all the football players
called him a faggot after he became a cheerleader, but actually, on the weekends,
he was having threesomes with the quarterback’s girlfriend and her teammates.
Sometimes there are benefits to showing up
to practice with inappropriate footwear.
Bolt’s now girlfriend
Has a five year old son
who is not Bolt’s.
She and Bolt dated for the last three years, but they broke up
because she cheated on him in her car before work one morning.
Bolt split and went back to his parent’s house, heartbroken, but intent on keeping his dignity.
Three months later he came back. Not because he forgave, because he didn’t;
he came back because he missed the kid and felt like he lost his best friend.
“Some things are just more important.
Sometimes you have to be the bigger man,
twice, maybe more”, he said.
We caught up a bit longer, trading stories and sightings of classmates and teachers.
“Remember Kristin?” he asks, “She lives right down the street–still smoking hot.”
We say farewell and I head into my apartment.
I go into my bedroom and open the window; the weather is unseasonably warm for November.
I look out to see Bolt waving at the kid, who is waving back from the upstairs window.
I hear the mom yell from the kitchen that dinner is ready.
I hear the scamper of footsteps and watch Bolt open his car door.
He gets in, closes the door, buckles up, and cracks the window.
He turns down the music, turns on a dome light, and digs around in his glove box.
He looks back at the window.
He puts the car in reverse, navigates the pot holes, and looks up at the window.
He puts the car in drive, lights a cigarette, signals, and turns out of the driveway.