Timmy Jessen

he walked ramrod straight
a coat hanger still in his shirt
a face like some cowboy hero
he looked the part
walked the walk
talked the talk
but crumbled up with one punch
from Jimmy Johnson
over territorial rights to Margarita
Johnson picked him up
by his collar and belt
and deposited him in the gutter
another broken cowboy
at the end of his fistfight
at their OK Corral

Vic Riccardi

he named us The Jesters
had someone design the sweaters
a coat of arms
the unofficial leader
but more inclined to follow
told stories of his older brother
and cousins the Cicero boys
with sound effects
galloping horses
the roar of the crowd
a witness to my first car accident
almost caused my second
when the ashes of his cigarette fell
between his legs
one of the three of us
who actually graduated high school
attended college for a semester
then married
got a job
had kids, I imagine, with Lorene
his sister Maryann
the darling of our crowd
a teller at a local bank
there are some who never get beyond
the working class we’re born in
that was Vic
too good natured to have ambition
still on the same block
making crowd noises
for his kids

Willow by Li Shang-yin

Awakening spring: how many leaves!
Rustling dawn: how many branches!
Does she know the pangs of love?
Never a time she wouldn’t dance.

Pussy willows aflutter–hide white butterfly,
Tendrils hanging limp–bare yellow oriole.
All conquering beauty, perfect through and through:
Who would enjoy just the brows of her eyes?

translated by Eugene Eoyang & Irving Y.Lo