Big Torch Key 2003

last night I recalled
the white granite counter
where we placed
our empties
on the last night
we spent together
in the house on
Big Torch Key

Do you remember
that third-floor
lumpy, damp,
rainy season

how you said
you would
go back to Pensacola and work
in a pancake house
during spring break
before you’d ever
spend a day fishing
with me
…ever again…
the debris

on the floor,

the empty bottles and
a dozen or so
purple, plastic cups,
some once
filled with

Old Oak rum,
others with
Fairbanks port,
dead soldiers…
lined up and
catching rain water,
on that last night
we spent together

wasn’t there a
cell phone left
on the dock in
the afternoon rain?

and wasn’t
your lavender, bikini
left to dry on the center console of
the Boston Whaler?

do you miss me?


Screw technology…
the Old Man himself
calls the shots and
marches on
with or without us

lazy palms lean into the
late spring breeze like
there will never be
another storm

I remember how
I found you asleep


I kissed you on the cheek

at sunrise

dry land sailor

write me a little
a day or two after I die
that’s all I ask,
just type it up
on some borrowed
copy paper from
the back room at
Ryan’s Irish Pub.

Type it on that
Olivetti typewriter
that I keep
oiled and ready
on the back porch.

no need for
something flowery
make it a little
the Missouri River
at flood stage

Rock Island, Illinois
Brockway trucks

St. Paul, Minnesota and Kansas City

Or don’t make anything
of it,
just keep it inside of you
and call
the El Cortez Casino
where you know I would go
when the chips are down

when the spirit is free

say to them…
be on the lookout for a
roulette hound

a dry land sailor

a hundred dollar millionaire

the dogs are all you can bet

with any success

“you damned dry land gambler”

you told me that lots of times
so why not
bet heavy on the long-shot dog
I’ll look for you at
the Palm Beach Kennel Club