Cheap imitations

Roy, the guy who mows my lawn on Wednesdays,

Comes around on Thursday, and tells me,

He’s come by to trim the date palms in the back yard,

I’m sitting by the pool writing a book about bicycles.

I tell him to be careful because dangerous things,

Lurk in date palms, but Roy is unafraid.

“Spindle a…bolts to sprocket lifter b…”

I tap it out on the laptop and I wonder if it’s right.

Roy comes around later and asks if I have cigarettes,

I tell him that I quit ten years back,

Then he asks if I have beer and I direct him,

To the fridge on the porch, and tell him to bring me one too.

Antioch, the yellow tabby who sleeps under my sling chair,

Senses confrontation and heads for cover.

Kerouac died drinking a Falstaff he says to me,

Then he asks: Did you know that? I shake my head.

We should be safe with Coors, I tell him – at least for this afternoon,

I tell Roy that I’ve always been an admirer of Kerouac,

And he says he’s read ‘The Subterraneans’ seventeen times.

We toast Jack, and Roy asks what I am writing about,

I tell him, after which,

He says he probably knows more about bicycles than I do,

No offense intended – none taken,

So we leave it at that and the conversation trails off,

Antioch rubs against my leg, glad that things are going well,

So I’ll see you Wednesday he says, taking a beer for the road,

I ask him about the date palms and he says that,

Only Phoenix dactylifera are true date palms,

Mine are just cheap imitations.