michael mc neilley




michael mcneilley
Innocent, lazy, frightened and mortal again
by Michael McNeilley

My old man died of pneumonia, it was
his heart, other shit but
pneumonia took him.

He was in Phoenix, I was
in Colorado it wasn't
that far

but he didn't tell me, and mom
didn't tell me, though
she knew it was coming.

They know it's coming, they get old
and they know but they
won't say.

I'm reminded again today, that
ignoring things won't stop
them happening.

So you delay, tell yourself it won't
when you know damn well
it will.

Here on the west coast,
San Pedro was never
that far away.

We sat in a Pasadena bar
that night last October
and said

shit, I got his address,
let's go
see him.

No, Christ, every damn fool
drunk boy poet does that.
He's sick of it.

And we weren't boys anymore
so we drank and ate and
didn't go.

And now we dangle in the
tournefortia of our
regrets, solemn

as daybreak after tequila and wine,
cracks appearing in our hand-
held plans, now our

phones ringing, ringing one another, he
died, he died, pneumonia, leukemia,
he's gone.

A letter, a phone call, a couple
of poems, a drawing or two,
not nearly enough.

It was coming we knew and yet
it took us by surprise,
as if death, alive,

pulled up out front, a blue smoking
Pinto, and some guys got out

passing a bottle, looked under the hood,
tossed the bottle on the lawn,
slammed their doors and

drove on, gone like the last
butterfly of spring.
And we stand

exposed like azaleas to bees,
waiting for something that
will never arrive.

Michael McNeilley

Charles Bukowski

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