Words, Smoke, Wind

Back porch, good cigar, glass
of dark wine, a mild spring night.
Iím filling another notebook page,
still flattering myself that these words
will matter to someone,
someday, somewhere.

But more than that,
Iím swinging back and forth
through the years, my reckless past,
the future just a question mark,
probably still time
for something good, but
no real prospects in sight.

The jobs, the women, the mistakes
I didnít learn from, or learned too late,
all the books Iíve read and then forgotten,
the million other notebook pages
scrawled upon, then lost or tossed away,
Christ, every idiot thing that seemed like
such a good idea at the time----

I close the notebook, drain the glass,
blow a smoke ring at the darkness. It rises,
hangs over my head, waiting
for the wind to whisper
through the trembling leaves.

these days

each day goes by
like a whale
on roller skates----
sometimes even
but always
worth seeing


midnight, midweek, strip mall
on the edge of town.

an empty laundromat,
an empty notebook page----

two hours of useful work,
three hours to do it.

I separate the whites and colors,
remember to put detergent

in every washer, even remember
the dryer sheets. I wash and dry

the spotless clothes,
drink a 20-ounce Coke,

and write this poem,
not a minute wasted.

why is it whenever
Iím at my best,

thereís never anyone around
to notice it?

Malo Basich, despite his name, is an All-American boy, a product and lifelong resident of the Midwest. He has been a factory worker, accounting clerk, lab technician, used-car salesman, truck driver and pizza guy. After years of reading poetry, from Chaucer to Bukowski, he started trying to write his own last year, and has just recently felt comfortable sending it out.

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