THE BLOOM OF INTEREST
She was drinking alone at a nearby table.
A furtive glance over his coffee cup
told Gorcey she was younger than he---
five, maybe ten years, max.
Her brunette hair was streaked with blonde
and tied, loosely, into a bun.
Her lips were full and pink---
natural, no gaudy paint.
And she had pert round breasts---
no more than 'B' cups, he guessed---
that were swathed in tight black wool.
Her ice-blue eyes were focused intently on,
of all people, Gorcey. He pretended to not notice.
They exchanged smiles when Gorcey
"just happened" to look up from his page.
Minutes later, Gorcey couldn't help but notice
as the brunette eased herself
into the chair across from his.
He figured loneliness and too many lattes
could do that to a woman.
"Whatever," she asked,
resting her dimpled chin in the palm of her hand,
"are you doing there, mister?"
The site of her lips forming those words
sent a lightning bolt to Gorcey's loins.
"Well," said Gorcey, clearing his throat
and clicking the button on his pen,
"I'm writing a poem."
The bloom of interest on the brunette's face
withered like a dandelion zapped with weed killer.
Silently, she got up, returned to her table
and sat with her back facing Gorcey.
HOW IT SHOULD BE
Unseasonably warm temperatures chase me out of the café
in which I'm wasting the afternoon.
I park myself at a sidewalk table
and wonder at how the balmy spring air
improves the taste of coffee.
A woman in her mid-30's---
short auburn hair, Jackie O. sunglasses, a gray hoodie
and jeans that highlight her full but alluring figure---
leads a young boy up the sidewalk.
The boy is about 5, wears a red sweatshirt
and is pushing a silver scooter---
the 2-wheeled foot-propelled kind.
The woman's hand rests on the boy's shoulder.
Their way is deliberate, but hurry is not involved.
They pass right by me.
As they do, I notice the woman's pillowy lips
and, especially, her bare left ring finger.
These details compel me to speak.
"Wow, that's some ride," I blurt without thinking.
"I bet you're the fastest kid on the block!"
The boy, though, is well-taught.
He neither pauses nor responds.
As for the true reason for my grandstanding ploy?
She pays me no mind at all.
Together, they turn the corner and vanish.
And that's how it should be.
I was an ass for saying anything.
But it was something like the old adage:
in spring, a middle-aged man's fancy
turns to the sense of calm and well-being
the boy seemed to draw from the woman
and the selfish, illogical hope that
she could provide the same for me.
I consider the color of my coffee.
Where do these women hide all winter?
And who knows all that they do
to keep the world turning?
THE MAGIC OF HOLLYWOOD
Last night, while channel-surfing,
I paddled ashore at The Night of the Iguana.
There's a scene in that film in which
Ava Gardner's hot widowed hotelier
gives an old-school shave to
Richard Burton's seedy defrocked priest.
It's the briefest bit of cinematic busywork,
just something for an actress to do
while reciting Tennessee Williams dialogue.
But for some reason, I found
Ava's handling of the brush and the blade
to be electrically erotic.
I wished I were that drunken Welshman.
If I were, I wouldn't have wasted an eye-blink
dallying with jailbait like Sue Lyon
or having witty repartee with
the prim and proper Deborah Kerr,
who could've been a nun in full habit.
No, I would've been down on the beach---
not those two cabana boys---
frolicking in the surf with Ava,
watching her shake her maracas
in the light of the Mexican moon.
Ignore the fact that when this film was shot,
I was but an itch in my daddy's pants.
Overlook, please, the minor detail
of Ava pushing up daisies for the last 20 years.
These logistical punctuation marks would give few,
beyond Burton's angst-ridden padre,
half a reason to pause.
A celluloid ghost reached past
half a century to flip my switch---
something which the top ten
of today's alive and kicking "reality" stars
could never do.
That, my friends, is
the magic of Hollywood.
"Jack Phillips Lowe is Chicago-born and raised. He has contributed poems and short stories to Barbaric Yawp, Clark Street Review and Nerve Cowboy. Lowe's most recent chapbook is Cold Case Cowboys (Middle Island Press, 2013). He believes that Bigfoot is real, but very camera-shy."