Poetry Collection by Scott Laudati

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.

surrounded

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

sometimes

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 forever

or some way back to

the heart of america.

she just wanted kids.

white kids

named john and jesse and little sally.

kids that would get her off work

and never make her think

about california

and giraffes

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

for money

 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

than love

scottlaudati

Scott Laudati wrote a book called Play The Devil (Kuboa Press). Be the 11th person to read it! Also, visit him on instagram @scottlaudati

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