Running On Batteries

Entering Fort Lauderdale

The back of my 32 year-old thighs
no longer command
top dollar
from the gentlemanly class.

Now I work
behind a bar
in a Bam Bam outfit
and men still look.

I let them eye my dance
with cash and whiskey.
Some still offer me money
to go home with them.

I say, “I’m not a whore, asshole.”
But I go home with them sometimes.
I take their money too.
It’s a free country.

Running On Batteries

At the great gathering of minds
Eyes all around me are downcast
Lost in the electronic maze of Xs and Os.
Fingers fly over QWERTY keys
Making meaning inside the ubiquitous machine.
Is this what we came all this way for?
Is this the new conversation
The Technorati loves to trumpet?
Here in the Austin Convention Center
There is no distance between souls.
No bridges need to be built.
Everyone is within earshot.
We can talk.
But to talk means unplugging from the machine
That forever demands to be fed.
I dare you, brave communicator
To walk these halls with no handheld friend.
I challenge you to sit still
And listen. You can type later.
Now is the time to connect,
To smell,
To taste,
To feel.

Meeting Richard Ford

Even though his face sears
itself into your mind
blue eyes like campfire coals
it’s the shoes that give him away
Chuck Taylor high tops
on a man his age tend to pop
maybe not in a more colorful setting
but here we are in the corporate confines
of the Minneapolis airport
sitting across from each other
waiting for a shuttle to take us
90 miles to Rochester
where the best minds in medicine
can fix just about anything.

Ford has with him a weathered leather shoulder bag
the kind that only looks humble
you can tell it’s a comfort to him
when you’re finally seated in the van
he pulls from it a notebook
and starts scribbling madly
you finally say, “Excuse me, are you Richard Ford?”

The conversation between writers
does not appear to interest the other passengers
maybe they’ve not heard of Frank Bascombe
or worse, the Pulitzer Prize
perhaps they’re just shy
anyway it’s not Harrison Ford on his way
to the Mayo Clinic, it’s Richard Ford
who kindly puts his note taking on hold
to encourage you, a writer with no books to share.

The van pulls up in front of The Kahler
of course he’s staying here
you wonder if anyone inside will notice
his casual, but classic, footwear.