nthposition online magazine

The Neds, Evacuation at the Danforth Pool & Astronaut

by Michael Kavanagh

[ poetry - june 06 ]

The Neds

Lit cigarettes they fling
Down on the Orang-utan
Squatting in the trench,

Swatting at fag-ends.
Puffing on them loosely,
Bogart-like, thinking

What kind of chimp am I?
Sired a dozen chimps
With four wives.

Run of the romp.
Run of the romp, see?
Run of the romp.

 

Evacuation at the Danforth Pool

The lifeguard shouts an announcement,
“Another fouling in the public pool.”
People crawl for the white hot pavement
watch footprints melt, and sit on big towels.

Somewhere, dripping, the culprit schemes
escape amongst the slow-motion panic.
The ten foot net scoops just three times.
They sweep it past the people quick.

A cloud of white chlorine spills
from a white bucket over the edge.
Kid and parent, the pool is filled
but the gay afternoon is dead.

Swimming and splashing are less than before,
children cry and fight each other,
the ice cream bell rings, a long line-up forms.
All this is why you have a mother.

 

Astronaut

Salaberger was Austrian.
Salaberger could beat you at Risk
In twenty-seven rolls of dice
Without him games lasted days,
Some forever.

A master strategist, aged sixteen.
And fast - he rode a Kawasaki
With a moulded body
Like the shuttle Discovery.

He didn’t really ride it even.
He aimed it at stuff
And accelerated towards it.

He aimed it to high-school
Where we cowered in the court
And got hundred and two percent
On his calculus exam.

He aimed it at his baby-sitting job
Charming us with cartoons and voices.

He aimed it at Wasaga beach,
Wooed girls with his physique.

Salaberger was a fine specimen
Who wanted to be a space man.

We met. At the airport two years ago
On his way to Houston to teach
Astronauts at NASA.

He did the funny Mickey-Mouse voice,
A little rushed, a little gruff.
He walked to catch his plane
In a blue suit. Auf Wiedersehen.
There goes the right stuff.