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Archive for the ‘Daniel Romo’ Category

Two poems by Daniel Romo

Safe

“I just cost that kid a perfect game.” -Jim Joyce
first base umpire who called the batter safe when he should’ve been called out

The umpire blew the call.
Blew history.
Watched its curveball breath sail away like an errant throw
from an off-balanced shortstop in the hole
over a first
baseman’s head.

The young Venezuelan pitcher did not throw a perfect game.
It was ruled he did not beat the runner to the bag
at the
bang-bang play at first.

And when the game ended,
his manager stormed out of the dugout,
a thundercloud of profanities hailing a downpour of insults—
while the umpire stood there knowing he deserved
every lighting-rod word,

like a weatherman facing the camera
who sometimes doesn’t predict the rain.

_________________________

Drive-In

My parents told me I was conceived there during opening night
of American Graffiti,
perhaps explaining why I always found Richie Cunningham
cooler than The Fonz,
and greasy spoons preferential to French bistros.

On lucky Saturday nights the Volvo was our four-star restaurant,
the only time we had a family dinner:
foil-wrapped beaming Mexican mummies unwound,
becoming bean burrito delicacies during dusk.

Dad stared through the grainy images on the screen
murmuring, “Ain’t this the life,”
right about the time I learned what a rhetorical question was,
unsure if he was asking us or trying to convince himself.

Mom commented how the elevated front of each car
reminded her of caring for newly sprained ankles.

My only concern, whether or not we got to stay for
the second feature.

Serrated elbows flew like a maiming game of tag,
my brother and I positioning for
the best view in the back seat of the sedan,
as if that’s not an oxymoron.
(Some of the bruises still have not gone away.)

The speaker hooked on the driver’s side window
reminded us how poor we were,
as if only one ear worthy of sound.

Yesterday at the mega-gamma-super-colossal-plex
where 3D images leap from the screen as if experiencing
the buoyancy of reality for the first time,
my six year-old daughter asked,
“What’s a drive-in?”

Should I have told her it’s where families went to get away
from themselves?
Or it’s the poorman’s cinema:
where if you listen hard enough,
you can hear the clanking
of fallen silverware.

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Two Poems by Daniel Romo

National Championship

When the college star quarterback suffered a separated shoulder in the first
half of the prestigious bowl game named after an acidic citrus fruit and not

a fresh, scented flower, he bowed down, planted his hands on his knees and
wilted, realizing his first-team all-everything year would not have a hero’s

ending. When the young back-up quarterback was grabbed by his facemask,
pulled into the grizzled face of the head coach and told, Just go in and have

some fun, everyone knew what would happen. How many of us could take
the reins leading the team to victory at seconds notice? March our team down

the field for the winning score, ignoring the pressure suddenly saddled upon
our shoulder pads. Someday the young back-up blitzed from his blindside,

tackled into the earth’s entrails for four uneven quarters will be a star, parading
around the campus pecs protruding, conducting post-game interviews thanking

his lineman for giving him such good protection. His mom for driving him to
Pop Warner and sitting in the bleachers all those years. And God for allowing

him to excel at a game he loves. But this was today. And the other team had
bigger, badder lineman, brutes nasty enough to eat their mothers whole spitting

out their seeds, ensuring no nice bones from the family tree would ever grow
in their bodies, probably pretty goddamn good at it.

________________________

Like Flowers and Martyrs

I.

In West Virginia he is strapping on a vest.
The back is shiny.
The front is a color he’d call gay
(because everything not preferable at 16 is
automatically christened homosexual).
But it matches his date’s dress,
and because her va-va-voom
top of the pyramid pom-pom
ra-ra-ra-sis-boom-ba body
causes him to cheer, profess his love
every time she gets undressed,
he does what he’s told,
a self-imposed servant to burgeoning breasts.

II.

In the West Bank they are strapping a vest to him.
The back digs into his soul.
The front is what boys his age put up
when they have been hurt,
or are about to die.
They kiss his cheek goodbye, leave him alone:
to confirm each explosive in place
that rest between the ridges in his ribcage.
To mutter last words because his upper lip
stutters at the sudden stare
of a sacred pilgrimage.
To pull the chord,
a self-imposed enemy.
He does what he’s told Jihad rebel with a cause,
and a confiscated identity.

III.

Someday you’ll rip open the pouch;
pour the seeds into your palm
and spread them lovingly into the Earth
as if sprinkling the best parts of you
into the entrails of your unborn children.
Someday you’ll be a corsage
delicately wrapped around the limp wrist
of a debutante dolled in daffodil
for a super sweet sixteen,
or the boutonniere fastened in a sharp lapel
at a homecoming dance in a gym swimming
in crepe paper.
Or someday you’ll be lamenting life,
just another flower
flung at dirtside memorial
where a father’s head just blew off.

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