Thursday, February 18, 2010

Early Bird Special

The gym looks like the Senior Center
Sagging suits and shuffling sandals
sweating out winter
and other cranial centered maladies
And a younger dude, friendly in a way
That makes me sit near the sauna door
Tattoos and eyeliner ringed like a boxer
Fighting for both sides

I think it was a draw

The shades of gray hair
Define the range of pool side discourse
High volume and vapid
Sliding slowly along wet floors into drains
An older man tells us
He goes to the gym
to avoid his wife
And his car refuses
to make that right turn
home to Taylor Ranch
magically carrying him like
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
To the Santa Ana Casino
In the half hour I was there
He repeats this confession three times
As if he wants to tell enough of us
to make the Rosary
Anything to escape mind numbing
Lack of purpose wrought by retirement
The air drips resignation.

“I know what you mean, bro”
Said a man in the Jacuzzi
Still young enough to be seen with his wife
“I go with my lady to the seafood buffet
For nineteen dollars you get
all-you-can-eat crab legs
And they’re biiiig (his hands confirm the abundance)
It’s worth the money for that.”
And the older man admits that
he sometimes prefers a good hot dog to steak
And I watch clich├ęs spiral in currents
Recirculating questions about why one would
quit a good postal service
or any job with benefits and pension
and whether they would go to Vegas.

The locker room women have bakery bodies
Breasts hang warm and unembarrassed
like stretched pizza dough
I survey my flushed figure in the mirror
breathe into saturated lungs
Relieved that most of my ribs are visible
Smile and realize
That, perhaps the trite conversations
really aren’t the problem
In our garage entrance-cul-de-sac culture
Hell, I’m just glad people talk.

Yasmeen Najmi

© 2010 Yasmeen Najmi

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