Rhuck U 2

My roommate had the bleeding eyes
of a Jesus freak
and a heavy rap
I got tired of
so moved
to an empty room
in the dorm
down the hall
next to Ron
from New Jersey
whose roommate, a Jap
did not speak English;
he sat silent on his bed
while Ron and me
smoked pot
and listened to the Grateful Dead.
One day I said
“fuck…you,” to the guy
and he smiled
a shy oriental smile
and Ron laughed
and maybe afterward
clued the guy in
or someone did, because
the next time I addressed him
he spat back at me:
And that is how, around
campus, he became known as
“Ruck-You” the
Japanese guy who
lived with Ron
from New Jersey
who smoked pot
and who wanted to be a writer—
same as me.


Day-dreaming while walking
down the street,
I step off a curb
and a car flashes past—
the width of a coat of paint
between us: “whoa!”
one of the yahoos inside
yells, as
the car swerves
and I catch my breath, check
to see if my leg
still attached, then
get pissed, and
“you ASSHOLE!”
But the car,
already to the
end of the street,
does not even
hear me.


The worker at SUBWAY
making eight subs—
woman at the head of the
line orders four, and
the guy in front of me, who
must weigh 400 pounds,
orders four as well…
Hell, all I want
is a six-inch tuna
on white, but
the wait interminable:
I walk out—
be back next week, or
next year, or


Church League basketball practice,
Tuesday night
at the armory,
green & white the colors
of Saint Thomas Aquinas;
the coach, my Uncle
stood beneath the basket
passed the ball to us
as we ran in for lay-ups’
my turn came
and he whipped the ball,
it smashed me in the face;
he laughed his laugh, cheeks
like plums
in his fat face;
some of the players laughed too
but uneasily,
and in the locker room
Dicky, a forward, asked me
“how can you take that from him?”
And I had nothing to say,
no answer,
did not even know
that I had a choice.