Cheerful Tortoise 


Did the turtles know they had numbers 
on their backs, 
when they were placed on the track, 
that circled the bar, at the tavern near campus

It was that time when Lyndon went to war,
making a stirring speech, pleading for enlistment 
revoking some deferments, 
lotterizing others

three years later, a homecoming 
guy, went to watch the turtles, and have a beer
after a long day trying to register 
at the school he left before his war

the bartender asked for ID 
he gave his military picture card
the bartender looked it over and said with grin 
the tortoise no longer served turtles

vrooom vroooooom
 it’s 600 am, the cats are still sleeping
 next door neighbor is working on his car
 in his driveway, it’s his business, his shop
 you can tell by the pile of scrap metal
 fenders and doors, batteries empty oil cans
 that fill his driveway
vroooooom vroooooooom
 last night until 1100 pm
 in-between vroooms his dogs bark non stop
 while I think of the Billy Collins poem
 Another Reason I don’t Keep a Gun in the House

lower your flag, your voice, your rhetoric,
look around you’re alone,
last white European Christian male on the street

brown people, non-Christians, women. others
all still here, lining the sidewalks
looking at you, pointing

you’re hanging on to dark history
gripping your platitudes
defending your self-righteousness

mired in hypocrisy
stuck in the muck of a different era
the last of your kind

people watching are cheering