Yesteryear’s Birthday Blues

Cadence Collective: Long Beach Poets

Girl and Goat 2

By Kevin Ridgeway

that day the rain pounded on my garage cave
while Nilsson wailed about jumping in the fire,
the fire burning on both ends of my candle,
picking up my grab bag of goofballs at the pharmacy
watching “Taxi Driver” and friendless, identifying
with Travis Bickle in my old Marine overcoat

The kids called me Hemingway
because of my scraggly beard and knit cap,
my sorrow and my way with words.
they expected me to die soon, either from
drunken charades or a hemorrhage.
and then they could visit my body by the
railroad tracks and poke at it with sticks.

Nilsson went into putting the lime in the coconut,
and that day with the rain pounding at my door,
the dark gray pallor of my parlor room of mind fucks,
I drank it all up and wept.

Originally appeared in Santa Fe Literary Review, and is…

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