Poetry

GREETINGS, OLD-TIMER by John Grey


Here’s your email, like a longhand letter,
I can see both man and machine,
coffee-stained keys, dusty brow and screen.
Yes, it will be good when something other than
the latest in technology brings us together.

It’s been five years. I’ve had to drink with those
less up for drinking. My honesty is in reserve.
Who can be open among shut faces? And
nobody else I know has spent a moment in Morocco.
Or India. Or volunteered their arm for a constrictor’s wrapping

Yet here you are, a gem amongst Nigerian spam,
penis enlargers and those who wish to link me in
or book my face or whatever has replaced close contact.
I’m laughing at your “hello”. Every period –
forget commas, you’re immune to those – but

every period is a call to memory’s arms –
think San Francisco in that neon splurge
or brawling Butte – your feet sure know
how to land you. You and any river —a marriage
made in Mark Twain. Ora mountain –

whiskey and Rainier -a tossup as to which
raised you the highest. Enough of this. Enough
of me following in your wake. We’re older now.
We’re plugged in. For all we know, these laptops
do the work once the sole preserve of body parts.

You’re telling me you plan to be in Providence this spring.
Not for the city itself, despite its architectural charms.
But I expect, like me, old times are now your Samarkand.
Late nights talking trash are dusty Timbuktu.
There’s gray hairs in my mirror. Yours are between the lines.