Poetry

‘Yes, Lemon’ and other poems by Thomas M. McDade

By: Thomas M. McDade

Yes, Lemon

Maybe it’s calculated
Stopping at the Town Lounge
On the wagon wanting some
Of the old whacko atmosphere
Just give me a Coke, yes lemon
Don the owner cocky on his throne
Says this ain’t no soda fountain
You know that and I recall
Friday nights, women sweet
Shampoo, soap, perfume bait
Quick to confess
They were slumming but
Ready to dream through
One more wise cracking fool
Jukebox syrupy crooner full
Presently the bartender readies
Microwave popcorn that’s far
From a cinema smell but it works
Psyched for the silver screen
Again and King Don springs
For the first screen test

###

The New World

Stained glass
Ornaments
This pizza joint
A fair day
Harbor scene
Greets as warmly
As a maître d
Men relieve a boat of
Its lobster and shrimp
The sea’s insects elite
A companion piece
Features Columbus
On a knee offering
A pie to an Indian
The server advises
Pizzas are very large
I bet the usual hype
I win but no prize so
I award myself half
A shaker of oregano
Aware it’s medicinal
The last slice reminds
Me of a tomahawk
At the ready in
A native hand
About to shatter
The myth
The sun abets

###

The Acid Test

The prof offered an acid
test to weed out the poets
hell, worked for him
Go to the sea, sit in the sand
with pencil and pad
Give it an hour and if
you are not inspired
hang it up as he had
forget you wild notion
or you’re doomed
to become a bore.
I was lucky my car got me
to night classes and my
third shift job
at Lebanon Knitting Mills
never mind the sea however
I could view
the Blackstone through
a miraculously clean
window corner
in the spinning room
Once as the moon
was searching
the river for its own
goddamn
inspiration
found me
and shared
like many folks
those days
would gladly
do a tab.

###

No Fixed Abode

When grinding rain greets
schizoid sea it is coal wash
to Newcastle’s River Tyne

And its shores except
in the staccato dreams
of homeless souls

Couching on boardwalk
backed sand where the fluid
foes often wax metallic

As if myriad dumbwaiters
nearing the highest penthouse
perches plunged and crashed

The victims of pulley sabotage
but hang on, the heaven pelted scalpels
serve as charms to lull both wave and mind

Marvel at those breakers seamed
as if sutured shut, granting sound
sleep in a tone akin to anthracite.

###

Haydn and Vivaldi in the Cold

I took three more photos of the Gentle Lady
that I’d heard was Kerouac’s favorite Paris bar
before we enjoyed a fine veggie Gruyere casserole.
A classic cinema crowd lined up to see The Barefoot Contessa.
On the subway, a street man I’ve seen earlier
playing his harmonica was at it again.
He scolded non-tipping teens.
Spotting an old lady sitting alone he went vocal
sang and sat down to romance her. She was Queen Gratuity.
He tried to incite a middle-aged couple to dance.
They smiled, demurred but paid for the attention.
We were late for the concert at St. Eustache, most of the audience was
made up of parents and relatives of the singers we supposed.
Girls in front of us played musical chairs
before abandoning their seats for better spots behind the organ.
The usher refused my 2 franc offering.
The first selection was Haydn. So what if all the music was religious.
I sailed back to St. Teresa’s and childhood High Masses.
The Vivaldi was a repeat of what we’d heard at the Madeleine earlier in the week
Where I prayed we were sitting in the same pew Jack did.
I wondered how the smaller boys stood in one place for such a long time.
I’m sure I couldn’t have at that age.
My wife added I have trouble now.
A hymn book dropped. A woman next to me hummed.
One tot reminded me of a childhood someone.
As happens in these old churches, the cold sneaked up
on the young (a child sneezed) as well as the elderly and infirm.
I imagined Kerouac coming up with better words than these.
Leaving we saw the subway harmonica man stomping from one foot
to the other, very close to dancing or operating a mystical bellows
that not only warmed him but kept his instrument howling
loud enough to compete with the fading organ.

###

The Opening

Four o’clock flowers
Get time right once a day
Pistil holds the works
Filaments dainty hands
Sphinx and hawk moths
Hear that tick even
In a watercolor as does
A sexy dame in oil
High skirt, hue daisy
Or sunny yolk
She’s slick as butter
Eyes exploding iris blue
She lures like lily pollen
Yet canvases soon go
Begging, tire guest eyes
Miserly gallery owner
Vinegary wine is likely
Vintage a week or two

Categories: Poetry

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