WILLIAM J. HOULIHAN
writes love letters to Rita Hayworth.
Chain smokes Pall Mall's till the cherry
burns his fingertips, swills 40 oz. malt liquor,
two bucks a pop from Jenkin's Place.
He's got all the answers to every conspiracy
theory ever written locked down and secure
in the Meilink "Dauntless" fireproof safe; 1800 lbs,
patented Bolt-O-Matic door guard, electronic lock.
Ed swallowed the combination in '72,
swears to God the phone is tapped,
listen really close, you can hear the clicks.
tastes, a Victrola in the sitting room
plays 78's of Josephine Baker, Paul Whiteman;
folks said she used to be a flapper.
A year after her brother Matthew died,
her old-maid cousin from Chicago came to live.
Billy told everyone they couldn't be cousins
'cause he saw them through the window,
kiss each other, as he poached apples off their tree.
from his godmother Ruth,
a copy of Sgt. Pepper from his little brother Frank
and a lottery number from Uncle Sam.
Pa threw a big party at the Legion Club,
the first on his side to graduate high school.
Elizabeth and Billy snuck out early
went to the Rainbow Inn,
made love for the first time.
Four months later Billy went overseas,
Elizabeth went to Ohio State.
Copyright © 2000 by
William J. Houlihan