in search of classics
By Mickey Z.

when your neighborhood gets hip
one benefit is the used books for sale
on the street near the elevated train

on my way to the city for

a rare pleasure trip
(to look for used books coincidence)
see the tables straining under
teetering towers of paperbacks
mostly bearing fabio's likeness
(astoria hasn't changed THAT much)

i approach the bookseller
scan his face for familiarity
was he in that documentary I saw? (no)

got any bukowski, i ask
he squints into the mid-day sun
charles bukowski
that's a classic, right
his accent is vaguely slavic
his eyes scan the browsers as he reminds them:
fifty cents
well, i smile, that's a matter of opinion, i guess
humor lost on him, bookseller shrugs
don't think so

i thank him and ascend the stairs to the train
still need manhattan for the real stuff

probably better off that way


fire drills
By Mickey Z.

nuns can be sadistic
the fire drills at st. patrick's grammar school
were timed for nastiest weather
or during standardized tests
worst was gym class in the winter
lined up outside the building shivering
in t-shirts and shorts
passers-by gawking ay our pale skin
covered in goose bumps
nuns draped head to toe in black

we had a genuine bomb scare once
no one knew the difference until much later

nuns can be secretive too


the one that makes her giggle and grin
By Mickey Z.

girl across from me to the left on
the w train sits down and pulls out
an envelope of newly printed photos from her bag

she flips through them the way everyone flips photos
holds them close to deter snoops
she smiles at most
some provoke little or no response
once she displays something like mocking concern
like she or someone she likes has done
something silly or regrettable
maybe just a bad hair day?

she goes through them a second time
her mind calculating which photos to
give to whom
which to copy
which make the photo album
which don't

pretty girl
she lives near me but we haven't said hello yet
i like to see her chuckle at certain shots
(then look around to see if her mirth was noticed)
find myself wishing i were in one of her photos
the one that makes her giggle and grin

w train gets crowded at queens plaza
view of photo girl obscured
fidgety asian guy sits too close
tries to read my writing
move to the right but find fat man peeking too

the mood is ruined until
pretty spanish girl smiles at me
to end this poem



Thanks, MZ.



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