Night Before Thanksgiving
i can’t help thinking about it now.
i know you’re back
in our hometown tonight.
at the irish bar or your parents backyard.
by ex boyfriends
and some that never got so lucky.
please don’t dance with them.
don’t say you’ll be right back
and wait on the bathroom line
while they try and figure out an angle.
and since you never liked clever men
the drinks come free with your smile.
you can play the ingenue for
a few rounds
but they know what it means.
no one changes that much
and you always paid back chivalry.
do you still see music?
i hear those songs
on all night drives
and i press the pedal until the checkers
in the street become straight lines.
like a sailor following a dove back to galilee.
but there’re no saints where we’re from.
at the end of that road
the music ends
the memories begin
and all i’ve done
is follow some taillights in new jersey
The Heart Of America
i lost another one who didn’t want love
or some way back to
the heart of america.
she just wanted kids.
named john and jesse and little sally.
kids that would get her off work
and never make her think
or they way she felt at 16
when her parents stopped loving her
but said the words anyway,
who looked at their little girl
and decided she didn’t have it
so they went to the next one.
she wanted kids who’d adopt a dog
named lady or molly,
and a vet who might say “it’s a 1/4 pit-bull
but the dog will never stop looking like a lab”.
and the house could be new.
and the kids would never have
their own minds.
they would be patriots
and they would never fail like citizens.
their mother could change the truth and never have to explain
that she’d found love once
and it didn’t act
like it was supposed to,
that she didn’t say “hit me”
while age and time were still on her side.
the kids would never want to know
about the heart of america
and that it disappeared just around the time that
they made it cool
to sell love
145th & Amsterdam
were you wired wrong for this
kind of love?
to wait tables
spend your tips on wine
a new haircut
and a doormat for
me to come in and stomp my boots?
let the gray and polluted
new york snow melt in,
listen to me complain about the city
and if you’re lucky
i’ll say, “i’m happy to see you”.
or on really dark nights-
how beautiful you are,
the only thing to blossom
while the rest of the world
has been dying
were you wired wrong
for this kind of love?
where i push you out
then drag you back?
go home to my parents
and pretend nothing happened?
i guess we know you won’t
put up any argument.
and i guess you know
i’ll expect no consequence.
i never thought about you moving on.
and i liked it better when i had no hope.
i keep thinking i can change,
that this time i’ll be worth your pain.
but it’s hard for you to keep faith in me.
i know all you need
is someone who doesn’t feel afraid,
someone who will dance with you
in that tight apartment.
but that someone has to dance
better than me.
this love wasn’t a total waste, though.
at least i taught you about forever.
you don’t stand under the stars anymore
and pretend they’re alive.
it just seems that way
because they die slower
Scott Laudati wrote a book called Play The Devil (Kuboa Press). Be the 11th person to read it! Also, visit him on instagram @scottlaudati