Richard lives in
2005 Richard Hahn
Bloodletter In The Modern World
Six weeks out of stir
and here you are, already
putting your tax-funded
skills to productive use
with the deftness, nerve,
the swagger of a surgeon,
wielding the tools of your trade:
those long, pointed scissors
and a straight razor
that could peel the skin off
an overripe tomato.
Just a little off the top, okay?
So what was it?
jewelry heist at the mall,
bank job gone awry,
a waitress buried in the basement?
Maybe you were framed,
railroaded into court (pre-DNA)
and shipped up the river by some
with a pocketful of political ambition.
But now look at you--
crisp, clean, inscrutable.
Hey, how about them Steelers, huh?
How does it feel to be
suddenly swept back into the street
like the hair on the shop floor,
a caveman in a world of Palm Pilots,
BocaBurgers, automated checkouts,
and homeland insecurity,
where nothing is for sure,
where the keys hang from your belt,
where youıre the one calling Next?
So what's your take on term limits?
Do you ever get that itch
to climb back inside
where the routine is comfortable,
and you know which faces
in the mirror you can trust?
Are you going to grab all the cash
from the register tonight,
then call your parole officer,
telling him to kiss your ass?
Looks like rain out there, huh?
Well, if that's your plan,
I hope you reconsider because
you give one damn-fine haircut.
The Midget From Across The Street
Okay, okay, I realize it's not PC to call him that now
but thatıs what they were called during the Eisenhower years;
not to their face, mind you, but spoken quietly between
"normal" children who wouldn't invite him to play baseball
or cowboys and Indians, and who would scurry helter skelter
when he waddled down the sidewalk toward them
with his Michelin Man arms and legs swaying snowy white,
with his sparse tufts of fine hair greased flat against his scalp.
And you certainly wouldn't use that word in front of
the mute Puerto Rican kid whose daily job it was to tote him,
a Madonna with child, up and down the junior high staircase,
lug his big books between classes, help him up onto the toilet
and stand there and watch so he didnıt fall in or, worse yet,
flush himself back to Oz.
I read yesterday that he died in his sleep of natural causes;
maybe he was just tired of running to keep up.
The obituary apprised the world of his relationship
with the surviving Munchkins, his role in Spielberg's ET,
how he supported himself as an AM disk jockey,
his expertise in the area of traditional Ukranian folk music,
his ability to drive a car and how he designed his own wardrobe.
It said he was even a card-carrying member of the NRA.
Nobody would ever call him a midget, I suppose, if he was packing
heat beneath a very small, but stylish, custom-made blue blazer.
I feel bad that he died. I feel bad that I whispered "midget"
when I was nine years old. But you know, right now,
at this moment, I'm actually chuckling beneath my breath,
for the only picture of the "little person" from across the street
that I can conjure up in my mind is of him, in Vegas,
at a convention, with a tiny umbrella in his drink,
posing next to Charlton Heston.
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