RICHARD FEIN

STOCK MOVIE HERO


Rumor was he wouldn't pay protection money,
as in a grade-B gangster movie he stood his ground.
But no Elliot Ness came to rescue
his seafood restaurant by the bay.
The city cops, of course, were on the take,
and even the fire engines moved snail-like
when the gasoline lit the blue-dark sky,
consuming his tables, chairs, courage, and life.
I played in the smoldering ruins,
played sheriff facing off bad guys--
while real sheriffs counted their bribes.
I'm the tail end of his memory,
one of the few--perhaps the only
one who still knows his heroic tale.
There's still some lumber buried in the grass,
the roof beams which were shoved aside
when the horse trail was blazed.
Mute relic of a sort---
termite-ridden roof for marooned, low tide crabs.
Salt water seeps through everywhere.
Construction and bribe costs rocket high--
and so a nature sanctuary built,
as a marshland for jellyfish dangling in tidal pools,
while the everywhere seepage turns to muck
this ground where once a restaurateur firmly stood.
Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996


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