Ed Krizek Writing

Fourth of July 2009

            1
            Changed my hairstyle so many times,
            I don’t know what I look like.
                                    —David Byrne


My home is outside Philly
where the empty brick factories
speak the poetry of lost hopes
while the city’s tax base moves away
in search of the American dream.

Freedom—
I’ve come out of so many worlds
of searching.

Walking through suburban streets
I remember a riverside picnic
on a hot day
when the ants stayed away
and we stuffed ourselves with
the moment.
Afterward I read you a poem.
It was about choosing life.

I hear music when I walk.
It is the soundtrack of a chameleon’s life.

I don’t sound like anybody
said Elvis to the Colonel.

The King is dead
and buried in Graceland.


            2
            Everybody knows this is nowhere
                       —Neil Young

In the locker room of The Boy’s Club of Queens
I learned the rap of the streetwise.
Who?
You momma.
Let’s not get on mothers,
‘cause I been on yours for a week!
Competition—
Word tricks
designed to create
a pecking order
among the toughs.
We all believed
there was someplace better to be.

Driving through
burnt out neighborhoods
with my doors locked
I see the homeboys
sitting on stoops,
or smoking on the street corner
with quart bottles
wrapped in brown paper bags
and miss
the love that comes
from acceptance.


            3
            Fountain of sorrow, fountain of life,
        you’ve known that hollow sound
         of  your own steps in flight
                    —Jackson Browne

When I was young
I did not believe in impermanence.
I could swim the 400
faster than any high schooler
in New York City or Jersey.

My father died.

I wore his winter overcoat
and a brown Kangol cap
speckled with yellow paint
to swim meets in the cold weather.

I have an old black & white picture of him
in a cabinet full of bric-a-brac.
He looks at the world sadly.
When I see his expression
I understand his pain.

I surround him
with medals, diplomas, plaques,
I have earned.
He continues to stare
at something unseen
in the distance.


            4
            Send lawyers, guns, and money, Dad,
       to get me out of this.
                           —Warren Zevon

During Business School
I owned one navy, and one gray
pin-striped suit.
Red ties.
White shirts.
Worked in Midtown
for an investment bank
and thought a lot
about money.

At my grandfather’s funeral
I asked my father’s brother
how he and my father
had made money
in the construction business.

He said simply,
We stole it.


            5
            I’m just sittin’ here
       watchin’ the wheels
       go ‘round and ‘round
                 —John Lennon

In a low rent motel
near Lake Winnepesaukee
I play jazz
on my ghetto blaster.
Snippets and images
from the path
that led me here
rise and fall
like swells
in some great ocean.
The sun is shining
in a cloudless blue sky.
Yesterday I bought
a rubber raft.
Today I will inflate it,
take it down to the lake,
and float
where the wind
and waves take me.


            6
            Be here now!
              —Baba Ram Dass

In the White Mountains
the taste of the air,
sweet in my mouth,
reminds me of weekends
on Little Peconic Bay
when I was a boy.

I am staying in a luxury hotel
where the guests are pampered.
Two person Jacuzzi—
chocolate chip cookies on my pillow at night.
My wife is shopping for antiques
while I sit with a double espresso.

Still, I have the urge to smoke cigarettes,
listen to street corner singers,
and drink warm beer from a quart bottle
wrapped in a brown paper bag.

I contemplate dinner—
18 year old single malt,
oysters on the half shell,
free range duck
enhanced with a glass of wine.

I read
poetry, literary fiction, Buddhist philosophy—

Life
is the mystical experience.