Bernard Haske


I lost track of them

on the dance floor –

Did Cocker sing Hitchcock

Railway at Woodstock?

(You Google it!)

Did these two stay for


They’re here tonight

for last call

at about the time

teen center used to end,

girls dancing together still,

one even wearing fringe –

the other, a neat new tattoo –

having the time of their lives!




White Ray Charles


bops them up

from the table, their

grays – wearing light blue! –

stay down, a little pissed

they’re here and have stayed

this late, talking

Freddie Gray or, now,

Lor Scoota –

“Did you watch the video?

“Fuck, no.” “Read the lyrics?” –

or Lofgren’s early work with Al Kooper,

g-kids’ whatever,

any and all ball-busters,


only these guys

damn miss hearing

“executive producer dick wolf,

the beloved 7 day forecast,

a bowl of cherry ice cream, and

their nightly prayers,

forever ecstatic

mom and dad moved them

out of the city

when they were boys

so they could meet

these cool white girls

at CYO –

where Motown ruled.


In My Life starts up –

“There are places I’ll remember”



Peace, Dallas.

Peace, Baltimore.


Rilo Kiley was in town

but I had never

heard of the two early groups

and could imagine only

endless-energy one-note bands –

I’ve heard a lot of those,

and liked some,

their meaninglessness

so endearing and poignant now –

but it can be so ear-busting loud

and the crowd so

young and summer-nighted,

and it was a little more expensive,

the divorce and all,

and Rilo Kiley

I’ve never totally been into,

I think they should be better,

the writing,

as I like bands

fronted by women

(lamenting Amy Winehouse)

so instead I go hear

the symphony, the

Brandenburg Concertos,

and the playing was fine but

softsoftsoft; for me tonight

I’m in a different mood

so the music and its presentation

here – in the era

of the dying

of the well written newspaper

(Yeah, I included that. And this:

Fuck you Sam Zell.) –

was a little bit of drag but

lucky for me

one of the violinists is this foxy

Asian woman in whose

hands the violin

looks like a whiskey bottle –

can she play it by blowing into it? –

and the luscious non-white skin –

Baltimore is so loaded with good-looking women –

a symphony marketing director’s


as the performers here barely move at all

and the rest of the stage appears

as the mouth of the whale

when a white beast of little distinction

says of the NY t-shirt I’m wearing:

“Boston colors,” (You could use

a little color yourself, man…. Boston!)

which makes me wonder

how the Orioles are doing tonight

as I board the thing from outer space

to take me into the city sky,

the giant Borofsky sculpture

that has landed in the middle of here –

we still don’t know

what to make of each other –

a combination of Omar Little’s

boyfriends standing tall

and the first girls to play

in the National Football League

dressed something like

Diana Ross and the Supremes –

Male/Female in Hairspray? –

way on up

past the slumping orange

construction barrels

that look like sleeping lions.

© Bernard Haske


Bernard Haske is a graduate of the University of Baltimore and retired from the Baltimore Sun. He was previously published in such journals as Cake Train, Off The Coast, and passager. In 2014, through CreateSpace, he published his first collection of poetry, The Color of Humans; “Lucky” is a selection from that collection. 

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