You sign up for the discounts,
those measly wins you have to ask for.
The clerk eyes you, stalls, maybe calls the manager,
but your card is in your wallet,
you’ve got him on the ropes.
You can’t in fact keep up
with all you’re earned:
free coffee at McDonald’s, 10% off at Denny’s,
early bird specials at Golden Corral.
And all for just staying alive!
Paradoxically, the AARP magazine
(which comes uninvited each month)
will ward you off these places, advising healthier options.
Remember: your arteries are harder now
and don’t spring back anymore.
Are there others like me,
who opt out of the journal, who don’t care
to use the symptom checker or
read about scams at the gas pump,
who just want to call a truce with the world?
Don’t tell me how to fend off death,
tell me how to live with its arrival,
how to claim wonder,
how to stay open,
how to give myself away.
Thank you to editors Jason Splichal and Jeff Sommerfeld for publishing “The Photograph” and “Nonconsensual” in Issue 7 of Sky Island Journal. Jason and Jeff have raised the bar on literary journals, honoring their contributors with kindness and respect. Every issue of this first-rate journal features exceptional prose and poetry.
Main Street Rag has just published Of Burgers and Barrooms, an extraordinary collection of poetry and prose featuring bars and fast food restaurants. My story “The Side Bar” is included in this publication, and I am deeply grateful. Provocative, humorous, edifying, delightful, this anthology has something for everyone. A great gift for writers and readers!
From the website: Main Street Rag Publishing Company has been publishing our print magazine, The Main Street Rag, uninterrupted since 1996. Among its features are poetry, short fiction, photography, essays, interviews, reviews, and commentary. Subscription information is available on the Submissions page and can be placed online at: Subscriptions. Current and back issue information–including who appears in each issue–can now be found at The MSR Online Bookstore on the back and current issues page. Our magazine is financed through subscriptions, direct sales and shelf sales. We receive no money in the form of grants or public funds. Reader support is important and necessary.
I love this poem by Ted Kooser. It is among the many poignant “postcards” in his collection WINTER MORNING WALKS: one hundred postcards to Jim Harrison.
Fate, here I stand, hat in hand,
in my fifty-ninth year,
a man of able body and a merry spirit.
I’ll take whatever work you have.
“So it is if the heart has devoted itself to love, there is not a single inch of emptiness. Gladness gleams all the way to the grave.”
— from “Honey Locust” by Mary Oliver
Photo credit: goingslo / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND