SPOTLIGHT: Potholes and Perogies by Ken Tomaro

My 8 billion pound life

we don’t talk much, God and I
only when I need something
purely selfish on my part
but that’s how it goes
he waved me off, not out of spite,
I don’t think
but because he was too busy
eating cheese puffs and watching
his 8 billion pound life
on an old black and white television
I have to hand it to him
he’s really let it all go to shit,
a masterpiece of suffering
these past few years
can I blame him though? –yes-
some days are just not worth
getting out of bed
and sleeping in a bed of cheese puff dust
is the path of least resistance
the very least we can do
at least that’s something I guess
he asked if I could change the channel
on my way out
I just waved him off
and left him to his 8 billion pound life


and within a single year
everything had changed
the way we live
the way we die
who lives and dies
how we eat, sleep and breathe
who we touch
who we love
the jobs had changed
the winds had changed
even how we fear had changed
and those few things
that didn’t change
needed desperately
to do so
all of it in a single year
and we were left to ourselves
to figure it all out

We were young once and dumb

the years of reckless indestructability
are those I miss the most
stepping where I please
or by random
even on the heads and hands
of those closest to me
broken down cars
ten-cent cigarettes
taken for granted
and as the years float by
like a slow rolling fog
across the frosted dirt
life becomes a penguin walk
along an uneven stretch of ice
brittle bones
scrounging for pocket change
and unremarkable bowel movements

At least once a year

driving on the moon
in a horse-drawn carriage
I was sure the car was going to bottom out
chunks of ice punching the gas tank
clipping the break lines
and I would be stranded again-
third time today!
and every year is the same
they tell you 24 hours straight
snow is coming
snow is coming!
more than we can handle
and the plow trucks
are somewhere along Route 66
a thousand miles away
taking a joyride
-Cleveland steamer

Pulling teeth

it pulls you in,
the lights
the noise
the chance of winning big
or big enough
with a simple jerk of a handle
the cheers in the background are for you
so you take the first pull
and come up empty
a few pennies lost
but you can’t lose all the time, right?
you pull again
the lights flash bouncing like fireworks
off the great chandelier on the ceiling
rollers spin shooting stars across the universe
the music is playing just for you
a chorus of angels as you hit
so you pull again
another winner
a chance to walk out of there
18 cents richer
and if you’re lucky
you’ll hit a ten or fifteen dollar ticket
that’s when you know to walk away
you know that machine
isn’t going to hit again
you know it’s the last pull of the lever
the last roll of the dice
the last of everything
because you know
you know more than the rest of these fools
you know guys like you don’t win big
guys like you hardly win at all
not on the dice
or a scratch off
or even at church bingo night
you would drown in Vegas
and there isn’t a man or woman
at any table
that would pull you out of the water long enough
to take a breath
so you just…
walk away
because you know more than the rest of them

And I’m still fat

I walked the asphalt path
around the park twice
equal to one mile
so if anyone asks
I can say I walked a mile in my shoes


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