But none of those were quite like Anita

The taxi-man
who hangs out on Liberty,
smokes outside his cab
with his fedora folded over to one side.

He reads the paper
with December swirling around him,
and waves to old so and sos
by the fish market.

He’s ferried boxers
to their big-time fights
and mayors and other politicians.

But none of those were
quite like Anita.

Old Jack here,
frankly doesn’t give a damn
about washed-up, has-beens who
frequently stiff him for the fare.

He was an infantry soldier,
owned his own business
even won some awards and accolades.
But he doesn’t think about his former life,
now ten years into retirement.

Alls he thinks about now is Anita.
She, with her short, dark hair,
sat in his cab for 35 minutes
and asked him all kinds of questions.

She asked him why he looked like
he’d seen a thing or two.
She asked him if he liked jazz.
If he liked driving a taxi.

She asked him if he’d ever
kissed a girl in the rain.
If he’d ever been to another country.

She then asked him about the war,
but got real quiet when she did.
He thought that was mighty cute.

She was about his age,
though you couldn’t tell on account of
her hair dye.

Anyways, she got outta the cab,
that cold December day,
grabbed Jack by the shoulder
from the back seat
and whispered something in his ear.

She wrote her number down,
but he lost the slip of paper
before he built up the courage to ask her out.

Now, all Jack does is drive real slow
when he’s on Liberty –
trying to find a girl who will ask him
some more questions.

oath-edged talk and pipe smoke

Sitting late on a Saturday smoking pipes,
laughing. Drinking wine and beer, but
not too much of either. The tobacco
crackles, glowing red as the 10 o’clock
rainstorm blows in. We, porch-sitters,
rock back in our chairs with our feet on
stumps of wood and call out to neighborhood
kids as they run by.

Two dobermans chase each other to the end
of the street and yelp when they get caught.
The radio tower is covered every 10 yards by
gray clouds and a soft red light pulses behind.
Our hands smell like earth ashes and we look
far away like we are glad to be alive on a day
like this. The next door folk wave and carry racks
of bud light into their modest home that’s yellowing
around the trim.

Don’t ever talk shit about our town.

Sometimes it feels like we’ve been doing this a
long time, only to remember, that we are too small
of creatures to determine things like time’s passing.

I take a deep puff of smoke, hug my friends goodbye,
and leave with my head buzzing. A midnight drive is
perfect for a state such as this. Plenty of time to wonder
life’s big questions or small ones that pertain
only to me.