POEMS


Intent

I waited for the AC man all day…he arrived while I was on the phone with the Franchise Tax Board…after a thirty-four minute hold

Looking hot and tired, Kelly opened the den door to announce…it’s time for our sit-down with Lolo…

Lolo, our wayward teen, who’s been sleeping to twelve and coming home at one, just got fired from her job for showing up late…napping while the boss is gone…I felt a small droplet of perspiration roll from my armpit, down my lat…leaving a sweat trail on the inside of my shirt like a snail leaves scum on cement

I waved to Kiki…Hi, and covered the receiver,
Whispering: “State Taxes”
Kelly recoiled from the threshold as though the room was filled with twenty one kilos of stinky Limburger cheese

Another droplet of wet saltiness
this one falling from my forehead to the desk,
landing on the State’s “Notice of Intent to Cancel”…
a small sweaty splash

Julie,
the woman in Sacramento,
spoke with a thick Spanish accent,
nearly unintelligible…
but I didn’t snap…
or lash out that a foreign national was telling me I had to do this, that, and the other…
fax a form, write a letter, copy a cancelled check…

Somehow,
my bigotry,
prejudice,
racism,
and chauvinistic battiness remained calmly at bay…
I was pleasant, listening to the Castilian song in her rolling R’s…
but not on purpose,
with thoughtfulness…
or open heartedness…
it was a mysterious reboot,
a change in utility settings…
a fried motherboard,
maybe scrambled factory default settings…
perhaps…
Divine Intervention???

After a couple of frustrating rounds of who’s on first…the lady from the state and I solved the mystery of the mis-credited check…
number 106333…
two hundred and sixty eight dollars I knew I had paid,
cashed on 4/25,
endorsed by FTB…
had the wrong Social Security Number on it…
those fucking idiots turned out to be me…
I scribbled the wrong SS# in the memo…
not a big shock…
on April 15,
I wrote seven different checks…wow, how’d I do that?

We hung up,
I smiling,
Mrs. Julie probably relieved another taxpayer didn’t yell, fuss, cuss or act shitty…

Up ten stairs, that today, right now, feel like ten thousand I trudge for a sit-down with our daughter…
A scarier concept than potential wage garnishments…

I breathe,
and remember my eighteenth year…
or actually not…
I was barely conscious…
only the big events surrounding that time can I recall…
arrests, overdoses, broken heartedness…

Lolo is neither of those…
she’s just 18, a high school grad…
and needs to escape the world of mom & dad…
that’s probably all