Has the booze caught up with you yet?

…no way, Cowboy,
You’re driving a 1954 Studebaker
aren’t you?

Old John Barleycorn
doesn’t have a chance.
You’ve taken on West Hollywood
haven’t you? and Kansas City?
You’ve lived through
the Eisenhower years,
And the Kennedy years.
Nixon and impeachment.
Farm crisis, energy crisis,
big oil, big crash.
You need two hands to
count the wars…

You’ve survived,
(for the most part)
with a good bourbon
in one hand and a
Grainbelt beer in the other.
So, pay off your tab.
Forget closing time,
like age, it’s just a number.
Winners stay in for the
long haul – you have to.
Life is a one-way street.
No way to turn back
after they turn off the
lights. Freeway’s closed.

Has the booze caught up
with you yet?
Don’t be discouraged,
there is enough high-life
to go around.

Don’t despair – you have
new tires on the ’54 Stude –
Stomp on it if you want.
She’ll do a hundred five,
on a cool night.



Cleveland is down there,
thirty-six thousand feet below,
says the pilot.
But I don’t see Cleveland.
I see blue-grey Ohio haze.
Pink afternoon clouds
in the late afternoon
It’s 3 days before Christmas.
I’m flying east, the mid-west
quickly giving way to the
east coast.
I look again for Cleveland…
I see the Lake –
but no Cleveland.
I think that God is a lot like Cleveland.
Tough to spot sometimes,
but probably there.
For five or ten minutes,
religion makes sense.

The freeway

The freeway isn’t what it used to be,
not that it was ever a great place,
but it was a necessary place – it was there for you,
when you needed to go somewhere fast…
back – maybe 6 years ago – back then it was a place
where people could drive, and
conduct conversations in their heads…
as they drove to work,
and to the shopping mall,
as they determined how to discuss
minor affronts with
self-consumed co-workers,
raises with apathetic bosses,
politics with opinionated relatives,
divorce proceedings with unfaithful spouses,
and medical procedures with,
overly zealous surgeons.

It’s not like that now.
The freeway isn’t what it used to be.
It used to be a concrete refuge for
inconsolable, bed-room community, housewives,
driving, quietly, quickly, anonymously,
to therapists’ couches,
in nearby suburban towns,
so as not to be spotted near home.

For evangelical preachers,
in route to mega-churches,
weaving in and out of traffic,
confident in the Lord,
as they rehearsed soul-soothing,
self-loathing sermons.

For long-haul truckers moving meat,
up the coast to Atlanta and Charlotte,
oblivious to the small and weak.
For furniture salesmen weaving
through traffic in rented BMWs.

And for the very old and the very young.


existing briefly, quickly, together,
with only the occasional life altering event
coming between them


after it’s too late

Most things we find out about,
after it’s too late:
the cop in the bushes
at the bottom
of the hill leading out of town,
the trick question on the exam,
the angry ex-husband,
the tired trucker,
the overworked accountant,
the agitated barber,
the lady with the strange perfume,
in the crowded elevator,
the strange weeds growing in,
the nasturtiums,
the odor in the ‘fridge’,
the photo she left behind,
the snake in the woodpile,
the match in the trash,
the lock that sticks,
the blind man in the crosswalk,
the codicil in the will,
the tickle in your throat,
the persistent cough,
the round in the chamber.
We think we know it all because,
we get off easy so many times,
that we think we can do it