We notice it happening, or as a friend simply said,
“No one takes care of each other anymore.”
We were walking as the sun set in beach fog, bicycles
and homeless men exchanging clothes; let’s just say,
our laughter was noticed. Later, at the restaurant bar,
I ordered an Aberlauer 12, a big rock in it, a polar bear
asleep in shy gold, and I watched as the other patrons
receded into the universe that wasn’t yet made;
we talked about his boss, the fifty-something workaholic
with the twenty-something girlfriend. I told him
I believed everyone in America was a workaholic,
thinking how offended I get when people ask me
what a teacher does over the summer months.
Well, for the first couple of weeks, you stare down
at your black, buckled shoes and berate yourself
for not getting a seasonal job; you face down questions
like: “So, you’re just going to watch your kids?”
That finally stops. And you go out to watch the birds
when you have time. You smoke too many cigars,
and you read about philosophers like Edmund Burke,
who believed property and class would save us all.
Alejandro Escudé, originally from Córdoba, is an Argentinean-American poet and high school English teacher in Los Angeles. His manuscript, “My Earthbound Eye,” was the winner of the 2012 Sacramento Poetry Center Award and published in September 2013. He received a master’s degree in creative writing from UC Davis and, among other journals, his poems have appeared in Phoebe, Poet Lore, and Rattle. In his spare time, he enjoys birding throughout the many natural parks in Southern California.