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POEM: a man without a bank card will do almost anything

I went to see guitarist Gilad Hekselman at Jazz Standard tonight and wrote this poem before he started playing. I feel like many of my poems are as much diary entries or small pieces of reportage as they are poems. Or maybe they are those things and also poems.

/ / /

a man without a bank card will do almost anything

when I went to pay the cafe bill
I realized I’d lost my bank card

now I’m at the Standard with 13 dollars
enough for an iced tea and a bucket of fries

it’s what I would’ve ordered anyway
but now I’ll be broke at the end
in that I’ve-got-plenty-of-nuthin way

meanwhile I’m mired in a conversation
I’d give anything to not be having
but my mom raised me to stick with it
so I’m stickin’

everyone around me is speaking Japanese
I eavesdrop when my tablemate takes a break

one table over is a sax player with a US Census bag
sitting by accident next to a fellow Census worker
they’re telling Census jokes, which are the best

I’m holding a seat for my English friend
a surprise gift from the rain god
to whom I did not even think to pray

there’s a Swiss philosopher eating steak tartare
I say I think I know him, he says he thinks he knows me
we’re both wrong

the seat across from me remains empty

Published in My poems New York City Poetry


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