Third-Street Promenade

Michael Homolka


Hangers-on follow the hands
of the tiny grouch over his piano, requesting
show tunes, saying they knew so-and-so
before so-and-so became famous,
and, just out of earshot, the Michael Jackson kid
spins on his toes while his father adjusts
the boom box, crowd in a semi-circle,
clapping along to the sequined glove
and black hat, laughing at the crotch grab
after the turns. I walk past the arcade
to the Ferris Wheel and study the frantic
timing of its lights and sit below
the half-eaten wood posts of the pier
on the sand and imagine myself
in the song Somewhere Beyond the Sea
then come back along the grassy walkway
with palms across from the balconies and return
in time to see the tiny grouch irascible
in his tuxedo, folding up the wooden
panels and readying the wheels, wind
fresh on the limp flaps of his bowtie,
and, nearby, pocketing bills from the hat
after the last performance, the father
giving tips to his six-year-old
on how to make a smoother turn.

Michael Homolka works in book production at Simon & Schuster, volunteers for the New York City Mentors program, and is pursuing an M.F.A. at Bennington College. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in the Denver Quarterly, Poetry East, Pool and The Saint Ann's Review.

Issue 2

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