Kleiman with Grand Slam proof

by Alan Kleiman

Tomorrow never comes
but it’s here right now
in the living room with me
right next to my chair
the grayish one with the stripes
from the old days in the office
when sitting in the corner
in the cushy chair
was like taking a holiday
in Spain or Paris
even before the airlines needed
to whisk you away
to St. Tropez.

I had a trophy there
an award performance
remembered fondly by the walls,
the sheet rock
even the window
the fluorescent lights
that watched
from their off position
the whole dance
played out against gray carpet
a few chairs
and a table or two.

Well there it was in this setting
where those miraculous 40’s passed by
where the power of our life
was realized
where the strength of mature adulthood
took its mark and left it
in strength
as powerful as
we were going to be

That’s where we made our mark
That’s where we became
from our 30’s
boy wonders on the move
to our 40’s
boy wonders having moved life,
art, music, sex, divorce, children,
partnerships, new cars, new homes,
all these things took shape in the 40’s
so rich, so strident, so full
of taste buds’ delight,
yet filled with the lack of self awareness
that only hindsight brings to bear.

Here the 50’s redound
what do they speak of
but futures with a different sense of self
futures with a less powerful push
with less oomph than “I can do it”
Oh, I can do it, Oh yes,
but sometimes in the mirror
of my shadow on the walk
or just watching the flip
of a leg over a bike
I see the movement
of an old man
the stiffness that places
the fluid movements of youth
into old man categories
and straightens the curves
and makes the leg less swoopier
It’s a hint but it’s there.

We have all seen old men
and old women dance
It’s that dance that wants to audition now
for the new part that smiles
that says Polident instead of Crest
We see it as not bad or sad –
But changed so much
that even Autumn
can be tolerated now
even Autumn
that hurt me so in the past
that made me cry with its meanness
its stealing of the warmth
of the long days,
of the chirping nights,

That mean harsh Autumn
all dressed up in fancy clothes
never fooled me
I hated its mean endings
and its gifts
of ice cold gray streets
that Autumn, that same Autumn
comes now like an old non-friend
almost tolerable
sometimes showing
its good side
its sweetness smirking
behind its flash
and I can say, Ha –
Here’s old Autumn again –
He’ll be gone before the night is up
Let’s see his dress and his swank this year
because Spring, our beloved,
will be here before you can say blink.

Because with age comes speed
comes life as a roller blade wheel
that spins and circles
at its own momentum
with no rhyme or reason
and that’s how it is today
Some say hooray?


[“Tomorrow” comes from Alan Kleiman’s book Grand Slam, published in 2013 by Crisis Chronicles Press.]


Alan Kleiman’s poetry has appeared in The Criterion, Verse Wisconsin, Right Hand Pointing, Blue Fifth Review, The Bicycle Review, Pyrta, Eskimo Pie, The Montucky Review, Kinship of Rivers, Stone Path Review and other journals. He lives in New York City and works as an attorney.