Thursday, June 2, 2016

Charles Rammelkamp- Two Poems

Luck Rules the World

When I woke up
from my uncomfortable dream,
which seemed to go on and on,
as if I’d spent the whole night
trying to resolve my situation,
not quite like a guy on trial
working through his testimony,
but not unlike that, either,

I realized what a cliché it was,
wandering around in only my underwear,
anxious because nobody’d noticed yet,
but with the sense that it was inevitable,
so far from home – where was home, exactly? –
away from the comfort of privacy,
kicking myself for my inattention,
apparently not having noticed myself
how I was dressed. How did this happen?

Don’t I have any imagination?
I wondered, embarrassed by such a tired old dream,
but I reflected that occasionally
I do forget to zip my pants,
and once my father-in-law had wandered
into a hotel lobby, naked.
I mean, it could happen, right?
And not just in dreams
masking a fear of being exposed
or whatever such dreams “mean”?

Rated PG-13 for Language

When the price of a venti latte
went up to $4.51, including tax,
I joked to the barista,
“Brother, can you spare a dime?”

A look of uncertainty held his face hostage.

“A Depression-era song,” I explained,
“an anthem to the era’s shattered dreams.”
I shrugged. “The panhandler’s lament.
Maybe I should have said something
about Fahrenheit 451 instead.”

“Oh yeah, that movie.
It’s the temperature where
something does something, right?”

Thoughts paraded across the menu of my  mind
like the drink options at Starbucks.
Cappucino, macchiato, mocha, Frappucino.
Books burn. Ray Bradbury. Guy Montag.
Bing Crosby. Yip Harburg.

“Right,” I said,
putting the forty-nine cents change
into the tip jar.

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