Eric Gadzinski


In the name of the mother,
step-father, kids, dogs,
cats, whatever it is
moving in the corner
of the eye in the early
gray underbrush, all
the ships at sea,
things that go
bump in the night,
and this day,
Tuesday, which is
garbage day,
I lift a blistering
cup of microwaved
instant coffee
made with
Miracle Granules,
And a palm full of
magic beans,
the blue and white one,
the yellow one with
the red stripe,
the pink tablets
and green caplets.


Grant that I
don't kill somebody
or myself for all
the right reasons
or otherwise.
Keep off the
hurricanes, earthquakes,
and the electronic incessance
of crime and misery.
Let not the wolves
of my past overtake me,
or the crow of the future
fly out of sight
over the spruce tops
with a whisper
of sand paper
forever and ever.

* * *


Some would say it's inappropriate,
that I, at fifty,
lie back with my shirt off,
jacket and tie draped over a chair,
in a tattoo parlor while a guy
named Nicky cuts your name
on my left breast.

I've been accused
of a "mid-life crisis,"
even mental illness,
by my ex-wife, her friends
and others who'd justify
their sag and cellulite,
the paunched and graying
resentment that locks their doors
at night, frowns from their
minivans, cell phones
murmuring voyeur conspiracies.

I'll admit that balance is a question,
how to stand or lean
to the plumb that pulls me down,
but I don't fight it--

my lost youth
wanders in the woods
calling 'till his voice
fades and I hear
only the wind--

something, at least,
to replace all that
troubled philosophy
with the certainty
of back ache
in the morning,
a gradual loss
of hearing--

rather, now, to consider
how to prepare
for the strange meeting,
the row of folding chairs
on the plastic grass
that hides the wounded ground
they'll put me in.

I have no answers,
but lie here, eyes closed,
among talk of motorcycles
and tarot cards,
cartoons of tits and Christs,
devils and mermaids,
dreams of drunken sailors,
while the needle hums,
pausing to wipe the blood,
the flesh of my heart burning

so when they wash me, finally,
they'll see what I winced
for love, crazy
in my white skin
indelible, your black
and crimson flourish.

Eric Gadzinski lives in Sault Sainte Marie, Michigan, and is currently "between jobs." His poems have appeared in a variety of publications, and received two nominations for the Pushcart Prize in 2007.