Amy MacLennan   © 2011 All Rights Reserved

Renewing Your Membership in Club One Another

Overhearing her peppery, gray-eyed cry of “Get off my ass!”
—part gringo, part Mexico—you guess she’s undressing,
addressing her boyfriend, her partner, her lover, her spouse;

stranded, winded; all of us hostages to this gangster storm.
Your translation, flawless in any lingo: “Hey, lighten up!”
All space between spaces softens; you clearly hear the fridge,

its on-off friendliness, the binary push-pull of life and lull.
the way the full love-hate, pass-fail, love-leave, yin-yang swings.
Parked (maybe arked) till morning in our sudden, rain-bashed

no-star motel—no wireless, no email, no female connection—
alone with ticking blood and heart-swept buds, you flower,
renewing your lifetime membership in Club One Another.


* * *

My Message to Michael
            In memory of Michael McGettigan (1956-2009)

Where does it say you have to play your cards
the way you played your horn? Where did it say
the road you’d walk would shrink to miles and yards
of first-class golf course holes up in Coos Bay?
I knew you when you spoke to me of songs
and dreams. Leave California. Settle down.
New Orleans was the place. A sad heart longs
to beat a whole new way—you heard its sound.
You played it all by ear, threw down your heart,
bartended nights; by day you owned the club.
Golf kept the wolf at bay. Golf let you start
again from scratch each day. Was this the rub?
Since when can’t life be one big hole-in-one?
Where did it say your hurt was yours alone?


Al Young
Copyright © 2011  

Al Young’s many books include poetry, fiction, and musical memoir titles. From 2005 through 2008 he served as poet laureate of California. Other honors include NEA, Fulbright, and Guggenheim Fellowships. The Sea, The Sky, And You, And I, a poetry & jazz CD featuring bassist Dan Robbins, came out last year. He currently teaches at California College of the Arts, San Francisco.

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