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Two Poems

Happy Hour

The two rather glossy-looking young guys
drinking dry martinis at the bar
use a lot of product.

They use phrases like "convergence trades"
and "fungible commodities."

In fact, one of them has said
"fungible commodities" at least three times
in the past ten minutes,
causing the other guy to frown
and vigorously tap his phone.

Meanwhile Mike and I
are using phrases like "pretty good pilsner"
and "three stolen bases" and "maybe not his best work
but definitely worth taking a look at."

And we are wearing the chalk dust
of Whitman seminars, the herringbone
of committee meetings, and the frayed Dockers
of rejection letters.

All of which causes
the two very attractive
radar tracking devices
sipping cosmos at the bar
in their strapless summer dresses
to swivel attentively and lock on
to "fungible commodities."

Blood Pages

Someone gave my little boy
this illustrated book about whales
and every day he carries it to me,
demanding we read through its pages
about the biggest whales, the blue ones,
and the fiercest whales, the suave
orcas in their tuxes, and the mild
sperm whales with their baleen
and blow holes and benevolent gaze.

Which is fine. Everyone likes whales,
but of course being a boy
he wants to focus on the "blood pages,"
as he calls them, just two of them
inserted like an accidental dose
of reality in the middle of the book,
where the great whales are hauled up
like minnows onto the decks
of the Japanese trawlers, their strength
broken against the diesel winches,
blood pouring from the smoking wounds
where the harpoons struck and exploded.

I want to page forward to the dolphins
somersaulting above Sea World, but he
wants to see leviathan stripped
of his lordliness, skinned
alive on an ocean of blood
by small men with their scarlet blades,
their watch caps and cigarettes,
making good money on the long cruise
but nonetheless longing for home,
for the touch of their wives,
for their own children on their laps.

George Bilgere

Blood Pages
University of Pittsburgh Press

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