Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Phil Presley Doesn't Live Here Anymore

Yellow tape fences the yard that he used to tend
With such care, such apparent pride
The bushes beneath the windows now are all trampled
By heavy boots; glass shards twinkle like jewels
From the flash-bangs and the hammers.

They came at night, dozens against one to take him
In his sleep; they are remembered
As heroes, and he as a menace safely removed
Now they are gone; neighbors bunch and murmur
In small flocks, rehearsing the line.

“He seemed so nice and quiet, always smiled and waved
So kindly, who knew he was a
Desperate man, it’s so good that they caught him before
He did some harm; it’s so good the police
Came to keep us safe, don’t you think?”

In time they will all forget his face and his name
For a time the children will point
At the old house, and they will say, “That’s where the man lived,
The crazy man who the cops killed that night.”
None will ask what mad thing he did.

There will never be flowers on his unmarked grave
The others, the heroes he killed
Will have parades, but all anyone will remember
If anyone remembers him at all
Is that Phil Presley doesn’t live here anymore.


Anonymous said...


Forgive my ignorance concerning poetry but this sounds familiar to me.

Is this one of yours ? out of one of your books ?

Slightly perplexed as to who the hell is Phil Presley ?
[Maybe another stanza with more background ?]
Yep ... That's me ... picky picky.
Still ... nicely done.


Joel said...

It looks familiar to you, Gooch, because I wrote it five or six years ago and posted it on the old TCF (now TMM) forum.

Dug it up a couple of evenings ago.

Joel said...

Oh, and Phil Presley isn't anybody in particular, the rhythm of the name just fit there. Coulda been anybody.

Plug Nickel Outfit said...

Reminds me a bit of a poem by Charles Bukowski - The Man with the Beautiful Eyes. (first piece right after bio section)