Mike Farran

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At the Lonely Hearts’ Bar & Grill

in Rancho Cucamonga, CA.
the patrons are pretty well-off  financially.
No elbows that shone through
cheap cardigan,
no thrift-shop lace-up black boots.

But nobody knew what drinks to order,
what buttons to push on the juke-box.

Some would like to play billiards
on the pool-table,
too shy to ask the bartender why the balls
are so large.

But all this confusion vanishes when Howie
and Zoe swagger in fresh from their
and always eager to make it a threesome or

Zoe punches in Elvis’s “Blue Moon of Kentucky”
while Howie sizes-up the crowd,
fresh blood he smiles.

He asks Alice Baker to dance and she giggles
and accepts.

The patrons begin to loosen. The men order
bottles of Mexican beer
with lemon wedges; some play air-guitar with

they all unwrap the sweaters from their necks
and dance to “Jailhouse Rock.”

Howie and Zoe know that they have these
city-slickers in the palm of their hand
and when Elvis leaves the building
Howie suggests a game of Spin-the-Bottle.

Why We No Longer Walk in New York

or California
on starry boulevards in the Spring rain
after or before restaurants

We wonder now about Florida;
that’s where our friends have gone.

Powder soft postcards they once sent
from lazy lagoons,
perfect sunsets,

then quit.  Lottery-winners or dead.

We sit in smoky diner sin San Francisco,
you and I,
tapping out impromptu melodies

against mugs of strange-sounding coffee
young people smiling.

But it’s a happy tune that we eventually
a tune that comes from nowhere that

we make,
far from long travels of computer-
generated images of what

old people do.
Far from the lottery-winners, dead or alive.

Our Invisibles

In the real world
we must teach that carbon monoxide
cannot be
seen, smelt, tasted, or felt and that

the paint on their
classroom walls contains leads, will kill!

It, too, is invisible.
But the color of the walls is the color
of pretty candy-
don’t lick!

In the real world
we have to tell them that the fallout from
a cool-looking mushroom cloud

will render all life-forms (even computers)
dead as doornails.

And in the real world
our children grow and begin to cut themselves
and no one seems to
know why.

They are invisible when they do it.


Mike Faran is the author of We Go To A Fire (Penury Press) and has appeared in Barbaric Yawp, Homestead Review, The New Laurel, Iodine, The Main Street Rag, and many others.