Poem of the Day 2
ROCKFORD IN MALIBU
Wall-eyed, punch-drunk, pistol-whipped
by age--eight seasons plus re-runs,
blow after blow to the head--ran a tab.
His trailer, where every Friday night
hoods came busting through the door,
smells of bacon grease and cigarettes.
The files got packed away,
but were never closed. Sometimes
he looks at one and tries to guess
who was the suspect and who was the client.
He wanders through the pickleweed
and marsh dodder, trousers rolled,
torso lost in the polyester
of his coat. Malibu is a sunny place.
The waves turn gently and
sea lions call from the navigation buoys.
At night, he sleeps and does not sleep,
as morning builds slowly in the dark.
Sgt. Becker retired in '86
and sends a card at Christmas.
Rockford thinks of writing back,
but what would he say? I walk
to the pier and nap in the afternoon.
I catch sand dabs when the kelp is in
and hum snatches of my theme.
My kidneys ache. The past is a mystery
I'm still trying to solve.
He heads for the pier, buys some bait,
steadies himself against a picnic table,
dodging terns and cormorants.
When he squints, their shadows come at him,
like blackjacks and gun handles,
falling from the sky.