Penny Bombing

by    /  June 9, 2020  / Comments Off on Penny Bombing

for Bogats and Knizner
by Fred Shaw

Loping our way down potholed streets
of this company town, hucking
all the news we can wrap in red gumbands,
a rash of dinged-up storm doors flaring
as our canvas sacks grow empty.
Ink-stained and sweaty,
we meet at the meat market’s stoop,
our 10¢ Fudgsicles dribbling while we grumble
over the laid-off paying in change,
their pennies making our Mellon Bank
moneybags sag and jingle.

As remedy, one of us palms a handful, eyeing
the striped steel awnings of this avenue’s gray-hairs,
sounds of Gunsmoke blazing across their TV’s
just before our zinc lands like a thunderclap,
scaring the sparrows and jazzing us
with the thrill of a getaway, our lank bodies
scattering through jagger-bushed backyards,
the mutts we zig past, chained
and yowling at our trespass.

Though we hadn’t counted our trouble
falling deaf on the ears of those pensioners,
hard of hearing from a lifetime of mill work,
it’s too bad we never thought
of doubling back in the thinning light,
if only to catch a glimpse of them,
sweeping their pine-needled walkways
before crouching on a cranky knee,
gathering fallen tender
that brings their shallow pockets
to rattle with our slag.

Fred Shaw
is the author of the recently released collection, Scraping Away (CavanKerry Press), which focuses on the lives of service industry workers.  He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife and rescued hound dog.

City of Asylum believes that All Pittsburghers are Poets. With the Poem of the Week series, we seek to increase the readership and appreciation of poetry locally by publishing poems written by residents of Allegheny County of all ages and levels of experience. In partnership with the Poetry Editors at Sampsonia Way Magazine, City of Asylum advances our mission to defend, celebrate, and build on creative freedom of expression. This project received a RADical ImPAct Grant from the Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD).

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