You can't lie about your age at a 50th high school reunion
Our ages ago faces
from yearbook pages
jump out at me
skidding my mug
on icy Chicago streets
in my '56 Chevy in '56
acquired from tantrums I threw
shackled to conformity
in a cashmere sweater craze
of nocturnal emission days
The Commies are coming!
Ages ago faces face our faces
mature at last
ingesting Parmesan something
between burst of camaraderie
and a hug or two
popular clique shtick at table number 1
and hidden children of the holocaust
and What have you done?
part of the swirl
this never futured night exhilarates me
"I remember you.
We didn't speak those 4 years
and we didn't for 50 more.
You're attractive still"
"You're blind or kind," she smiles.
We embrace, Denise and I
A memory mix
at our two-day time fix
Any publication of this poem is punishable
by total adolescent recall
"My swollen thighs are rubbing against my balls,"
declares my dying friend Jack.
"Call the nurse," I shot back.
It's a word I picked up from the beyond."
"You're good company in your present state."
"I'll be less bad company presently.
I say the word 'die'
as much as I lived the word 'fuck'."
Allowing no crying in his presence:
"Save the tears for the funeral," he tells us.
When I call him at The Last Roundup Hospice:
"Is this Sugar Ray?" I ask.
"It's Saccharine Ray," he replies.
As an old theater hand,
he does rib-splitting Alzheimer imitations of other patients,
my mortal mirror, tumorous humorous friend.
"My humor is depleting 5% a day.
I can't wait to hear my eulogy.
Poor me, all I did was get what I wanted.
Every day is a poem dedicated to one day more.
I could get into writing some post-life poetry.
He made you.
In a garden of poems he gave you birth,
Chant the old Aztecs in his ear.
We only came to sleep,
We only came to dream.
I had a cookie aura
I was sweet
a crumb at heart
I for my part
having a chocolate chip
on her shoulder
we nibbled away
at each other
I melted in her