Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back Then

…we took it slow. Trolley car, transfer
and three subways ending with the GG local
got me to the double-header for a nickel
where I planned my life between pitches
but it slipped away in extra innings.
Beat me daddy, eight to the bar,
wasn’t about child abuse as I first thought.
One of us was always a slow-poke
so we came in anytime and caught up
to what we already knew.
It was all wallpaper anyway; the double feature,
cartoon, Sing-a-Long and March of Dimes collection.
Bluebirds over the white cliffs of Dover, just you wait and see.
The Audubon bird on the wall barely moved.
Tea steeped, oatmeal simmered while they tried
to run a mile in under four minutes. Please rise for our
Happy little wash-day song. Oxydol’s own, Ma Perkins.
In September grandpa said he’d best fetch some wood for the stove.
What with his lumbago and all, he brought the wood
up from the cellar by late November.
The robber asked Benny, Your money or your Life?,
(Magazine just arrived with last week’s news),
and we got 10 seconds of silence while he thought it over.
Everything in Fibber McGee’s hall closet tumbled,
Chamberlain bumbled, Europe crumbled. Just wait
ten years for the $18.75 war bond to mature to $25.
We learned about haste making waste and waste not
to prevent famine in China.
Not so fast, Buster, come out with your hands up.
Crime-fighters on every station warned us it didn’t pay
considering the long stretch up the river or worse, The Chair.
We waited for the bus, for Johnny to come marching home.
The troop ship inched its way home.
Soles and heels, You come back next Thursday, he said,
with nails in his mouth, glue on his breath.
Where you running, Sammy?
Only The Shadow knew and maybe The Answer Man.
The second-hand clock made its rounds.
The fast lane wasn’t open yet. Memory Lane is a slow stroll.
Is it our eyes that still had wonder in them
or the slo-mo in looking back?

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