Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Tuesday Poem: an earlier version published by Caprice in 1996

When My Mother Finally Met Frankie
for Donna
It was late in his career
so she didn't swoon
like the bobby-soxer
she used to be,

she started singing
Mack The Knife
to him instead,

I don't know why.
It never worked
when she tried it with my father.

She must have been thinking
about Frankie's swagger just then,
how he transformed himself
from a skinny Hoboken kid
into a giant, a shark in a white shirt.

She'd watched him grow 
bigger when he sang,
become a dreamboat,
an ark you could board,
and be rescued in,
from the wrath of God.

She probably wanted him 
to know he had inspired her
that come Hell or high 
water, she was a fighter.

Forget the Dean Martin
husband, the rat pack
bunch of ungrateful kids,
the years of working
night shifts, bouts of
spending like a sailor.

For what?
Once you go under the knife,
once you shed scarlet billows,
it all drops away. Tumor schmoomer.
She, like Macky, was back in town.

But Old Blue Eyes didn't get it.
He smiled, and turned to his bodyguards,
said through his pearly whites:
Get this crazy broad out of my way.