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RWB Workshop Poem of the Week – Dec. 23, 2015

December 25, 2015

Shatner

Janet Kolstein

NEW JERSEY

In the first preamble
after the Playhouse date,
it was late,
you offered us a ride.
(we had a car)

Lit cigarette,
fidgety in my fingers,
burned a little hole
in the leg of my pants,
(you brushed it away)
a souvenir in the black velvet,
in my best friend’s apartment,
just the three of us
skylarking and sharing sweat.
(I think we had white wine)

Our waiter at the China Clipper
brought us the check and said, “I’m lucky boy,
accepted to Harvard.”
“Lucky boy?” chortled Bill, in an aside.
(Later, the hostess confided, “Joe Namath was here!”)

CALIFORNIA

The long drive into the night,
the pit stop
with noir-ish light,
the guy at the pump
looming over the windshield
with a wet rag in his hand.

And, just when it appeared we were clear,
he asked for your autograph —
the captain,
the explorer,
the man at the helm.

The bearskin rug in your den
had a story to tell,
and the little book in the loo
told a tale of flowers
like Givenchy’s Le De.
The glass doors to the pool
were so clear as to fool
any young bird flying unfazed,
but you, in your electronic ship,
would be beamed far into space
along with Lucy and Hoss
and all the rest of the televised estate.
(you said)

I held on to your sides
as we leaned into the mountain’s curves,
the motorcycle purring, the wind rushing
and tiny things from the road pinging
at my unprotected knees,
back to the low elevation
of Long Beach.

NEW YORK

The St. Regis was fit for a fling.
College classes could wait
while we ran lines
for something you were starring in —
some details, events, dimming,
some preserved in a harsher light.

We ended up in some bar one time on the West Side
deep in conversation,
but I could still see the grins and glances
out of the corner of my eye.
What did I know about needing reservations
for Tavern on the Green?
(you should’ve told’em who you’re bringing!)

I remember quite a bit,
you probably won’t recall any of it.
And there’s more, lots more —
the garden berries and the magic danish,
low caloric.

And once,
I almost set my pants
on fire.

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