BOB BALOGH Backfish Studio
Backfish Studio is conveniently located in downtown Pittsfield, MA
at 255 North Street, 2nd floor.
An intimate performance space that seats 35 people.
every Monday morning, 6:00-9:00 a.m.
streaming at www.valleyfreeradio.org
"In the Slammer" www.ctsbtv.org
coming soon: "Iced Tea & Apologies" $10
"Earthworms Have Five Hearts" $7
"Manage the Sweat" $7
"Greater Backfish Journal" $10
"Variations of You" $5
I parked my Winnebago
on the White House lawn.
Listened for sirens & choppers.
Waited for bullets & RPGs.
Watched every direction
for killer squads
in camouflage or black suits.
But it was quiet.
It was lonely.
So, I made a peanut butter
& jelly sandwich.
Opened a quart of milk.
They must know who I am, I thought.
If you’re me, you’d expect that,
especially on the White House lawn
in a Winnebago.
Bet Obama knows me.
Bet he spread the word
that a barrage of gunfire
at my sorry ass
would have been extravagant
& just plain wrong.
leaned in the passenger window.
“Something you want to talk about?”
he asked me.
“Yeah,” I said.
“I was just passing through,
wondering if you wanna hop in,
share some adventures for a few days.”
“Can we head down to the Outer Banks?”
“Hell yeah, get in.”
He drove most of the way,
one hand on a peanut butter & jelly,
the other one steered the Winnebago.
He was wearing that big campaign smile,
waving at motorists on I-95.
All of them jaded, all thinking:
“Jerk don’t look nothin’ like Barack.”
And Prez enjoying a taste
of being mistaken for a nobody.
But he said:
“This is a one-time thing, you understand.”
He looked at me sideways
from the driver’s seat.
I said: “Sure, Mr. President,
just keep your eyes on the road.”
Lopresti was told
that he would outgrow the problem.
He heard from all the adults
about the power & value
of ignoring the cause of his troubles;
the cause being the kids in school.
They taunted Lopresti
by convoluting his name
Tall, rangy child
big greasy pompadour.
1962, age 12.
“My boy Lollipop.
You make my heart go giddy-up.”
He reacted with embarrassment,
then he’d grab a provocateur
& bang his fist
into the motherfucker’s nose.
soon became high risk & no fun.
The Lollipop years lasted
less than 12 months.
It took the routine practice
of following the adults’ advice,
of ignoring ridicule
to make the problem go away.
But in a jam,
he might bloody a challenger’s face
with his knuckles.
Lopresti is on the front porch
watching the sunset.
A silver Lexus pulls up.
“Hey, Lollipop,” says the driver.
Lopresti walks to the driver’s window.
“You don’t remember me, do you?”
says Lexus, a cigar & a big grin.
“We were in school together back in the day.”
“Come on,” says Lexus.
“Howz about all the fun we had?”
He sings: “My boy Lollipop.”
“Shit, Lopresti. You’re still a freakin’ weirdo loser.
Same old sour-ass Lollipop.”
Lopresti throws a strong left jab
breaking the bridge of the driver’s nose.
On the front porch
watching the sunset,
Lopresti is rocking his golden years.
Can’t quite outgrow
that old schoolyard problem.
Tries hard when he’s hard-pressed,
but still gets sucked in.
Just an all-day sucker
with shame past its prime
still making his heart go giddy-up.
FALSE ALARM INCIDENT
There goes the false alarm
& here comes a stampede
in the hallway.
The elevator is knocked out
& they make a mad gallop
down the stairs.
with a shriek & pulse
that says incoming nuke
& forthcoming coronary
& shit in the pants.
But it’s a false alarm.
Lisa, from the 4th floor,
just got pissed off
because I wouldn’t give her
So she pulled the emergency lever.
This is the effect I have on women now.
Lisa & I are the only ones
who haven’t evacuated the building.
We know the score.
While 4 floors of people
are out on the sidewalk,
distress signal still stinging their ears;
they are deafened by a false alarm
& listening for the wrong answer.
The sun sets
into the Berkshire Taconic ecosystem.
You see it 3 or 4 times a week,
best viewed from the upper deck
of McKay Street’s parking garage,
the ugly downtown whirley-gig parkade,
the dirty car ramp spiral
that nobody mistakes for Guggenheim.
But up on the roof,
there goes the sun,
unrivaled in dropping dead.
You lean against the rail,
best seat in the house,
watch another day break down.
Up on the roof,
where sunsets are better heard,
And you are getting the melody.
And in wonder you are saying:
“That used to be my favorite song.”
were not part of my moving equation
I moved two weeks ago,
& drove 3 miles
from point “old” to point “new,”
with personal property,
bits & bobs,
shit & Shinola,
forensic evidence of an unspectacular life.
But no cardboard boxes.
For once, I moved out & in
strictly with milk crates
& some wonderful, sad, smelly luggage
from the thrift.
And not one cardboard box, hear me?
Shipping the miserable cargo at age 64.99
with no help.
All my best friends had sacroiliac dysfunction
or a yoga class
or they were out
changing the course of history
with placards & megaphones.
No help, no problem.
No cardboard boxes,
mnemonics for all my glum moves
missteps & dead ends,
worn out welcomes,
cleaning out nests
& compacting everything into cardboard
wrapped with duct tape,
Sharpie scribble on the sides saying:
junk drawer debris,
breakables reinforced with newspaper,
scratchpads of genius,
journals of madness,
C-4 & hand grenades…
then take 5 when a bottom falls out.
But not this time.
Milk crates & valises
& an elevator at the new place
made for a low-key heave ho.
I am intact.
I am ready for the championship round
& so far
I’m not a cardboard cutout of myself.
copyright (c) 2015 by Bob Balogh
All rights reserved