Saturday, June 9, 2018

Downward Spiral

In my teens,
I met Mary twice.
A friend of a friend.
Pretty. Nice.

A few years later
At twenty-one
Mary’s short life
Came undone.

Atop an office building,
Unanswered prayers.
Descended to street level:
No elevator, no stairs.


Mary was the first
Person I’d
Met who committed

In the heyday of shame
Such events
Created a silence that
Was immense.

Her death was hushed up
Efficiently banished
Like mishaps where nuclear
Missiles vanished.

It took many
Many years
For whispers about Mary
To reach my ears.


A Golden Gate Bridge
Documentary provided
Glimpses of people
Who had all decided

They’d had it with the world
They were living in
And took leaps without faith
Into oblivion.

These images helped me visualize
Mary’s fate ---
Battling gravity means punching
Above your weight.


Over 200 feet in the air
Should be a corrective
To supply any missing
Life perspective.

But speeds approaching
75 miles an hour
Will deprive anyone from
Having the power

To think very clearly when
What beckons
Is a death wish whoosh of
Four seconds.


If you swallow pills, there’s
Always the chance
To invite salvation by calling
An ambulance.

But jump off a building & things
Are as bad as they can be.
No cavalry left to summon ---
No Hail Mary, no Plan B.


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Sirhan Sirhan

I actually have not one but two connections
To Sirhan Sirhan.
Right from the outset, I would really like to
Be very clear on

All of the basic facts --- the first one is that
I do remain somewhat beguiled
Because I now live in Altadena near where
He attended classes as a child.

He went to an Altadena school but Pasadena
Is where he lived back in the day:
Seventeen miles from the Ambassador Hotel
Where he shot and killed RFK.

My proximity to history brings it alive and it
Reminds me how Fate can be cruel:
I ponder Sirhan and Robert F. Kennedy when
I’m driving by Eliot Middle School.


The second connection’s also school-related:
This happened way back when I
Was fifteen, living at home with my parents
And going to Pacific Palisades High.

I missed a whole day of school --- an event
Which alone was worthwhile:
A family friend in local news had offered to
Take me to this historic trial.

The defendant that day was quite silent, very
Much the introvert
Unassuming and tiny in his way too big, loose-
Fitting white shirt.

At times he seemed distinctly lost in all of
The legal proceedings
Often sitting without moving at all during
His lawyers’ pleadings.

A courtroom artist slowly nodded off
As I watched his techniques:
I later met the defendant’s mother &
She pinched both my cheeks.

The morning session broke for lunch and
I felt like I was in a classroom
As class just ended. I went on a mad dash
To try and find a bathroom.

I looked without success and hadn’t figured
That one would be so hard to find ---
I approached newsmen with microphones
Who wondered what was on my mind.

I didn’t think that The Fourth Estate were
Folks I should be shunning.
I stopped, blurted out, “No comment” and
Then resumed my running.