Because I have the heart of a Luddite,Rather than using the self-scanner,
I’m standing in the supermarket check-out line,
Waiting for the old woman in front of me
To finish laying out her coupons
As if they were Tarot cards.
Next to me a tabloid brags A SECOND CHANCE AT ROMANCE.Below the headline, with their arms around each other, beam
A minor actress, airbrushed into beauty,
Seductive with health after a liver transplant,
And next to her, dwarfing her,
Her basketball playing boyfriend, who received a kidney
From a cousin he never knew he had.
Both thank God and their doctors and the donors.
And I think of a man I met in BarbadosWho, like the ancient Mariner, condensed his life into one story.
Years ago he received a call that his son from his first marriage
Was dying in a hospital two thousand miles away.
The young man with a troubled past
Had stolen a car, and when pulled over,
Swore to the police that he’d never return to prison;
So he placed a pistol to his head and fired.
The man was urged to hurry,That the doctors were keeping the boy on life support
Until he could arrive.
But the man delayed more than a day,
Before his wife could convince him to see his estranged son.
When he finally arrived at the hospital
He made it as far as the corridor outside his son’s room and stopped;
He couldn’t bear to see what was behind the door.
The doctors said that was his decision; to them it didn’t matter.The time had passed for harvesting any usable organs
That might have given somebody else a second chance.
All they needed now was permission to turn off the machines;
And he didn’t have to go any farther for that.
If he had to do it over again, he assured me,He still wouldn’t have gone in.
He didn’t want that to be the final memory of his son.
He’d rather remember him as the athlete he could have been,
A successful man loved by a beautiful woman.
ODE TO QUANTUM MECHANICS
Looking for a cabAfter a night of jazz and drinks on Frenchmen Street in New Orleans,
We pass a man sitting behind a make-shift desk on the sidewalk.
In front of him is a manual typewriter,
With a hand-written sign propped against it,
“Poet for Rent.”
Because I’ve had too much to drinkI ask him to write a poem about lovers,
Who, even at their happiest,
Lying on the soft grass on a summer’s evening,
And counting the stars,
Will end the night arguing the result.
As he twists a piece of paper into the carriage,He asks for a couple of minutes,
And begins to type.
So we cross the street to the Spotted Cat for another drink.
When we return, he pulls the paper from his machine, folds it, and hands it to me.
For which, I tip him my last twelve dollars.
It’s not until the next morning when I’m packing,That I read what he has written.
“O blessed are the mnemonic devices of math and science,“How they remind us of our beginnings in the big bang,
“Like a therapist helps an adult trace his issues
“Back to the first time he saw his parents naked;
“And grateful are we for physics,“Helping us recall how our quarks got their flavors,
“And why they tremble at the sight of our beloved;
“And we are thankful for Integral Calculus,“Which shows us the swoosh of the first galaxies,
“Exploding after a billion years into our carbon atoms
“That long to rub against other carbon atoms.
“And holy are the computer simulations“Of ancient asteroids bringing water from the heavens,
“Which lovers recycle into the tears
“They pretend will keep the sun from one day imploding.”
And to think I paid good money for this.I throw it on the bed as a tip for the maid.
Ron Yazinski is a retired English teacher who, with his wife Jeanne, divides his time between Northeastern Pennsylvania and Winter Garden, Florida. His poems have appeared in Strong Verse, The Bijou Review, Amarillo Bay, The Edison Literary Review, The Cynic Review, The Wilderness House Review, Chantarelle’s Notebook, The Electric Poet, Centrifugal Eye, amphibi.us, The Write Room, Pulsar and Crash. He is also the author of the chapbook HOUSES: AN AMERICAN ZODIAC, which was published by The Poetry Library and a book of poems SOUTH OF SCRANTON.