Winter 2005

John Repp


John Repp's most recent collections of poetry include The Fertile Crescent (Cherry Grove Collections, 2004), Gratitude, which will be forthcoming from Cherry Grove Collections in 2005, and White Doe (Mayapple Press, 2004).
Money    Click to hear in real audio


A new friend calls this play money
so tales of me and money stroll
from my tongue like Danish philosophers
gonging their g's with xylophone mallets�

Bing-bong we were thus-and-so
till this-and-that so now
the smallest coin of any currency
clinking the nether regions

of a UPS truck will make
the little toe on my right foot
quiver and cramp so I'll
get the check   drink up   count on me

to figure the tip to the fair penny.



An old friend calls me money
as in You're so money
you don't know how money
you are  and I say You're at least as money

as Mayakovsky and Mayakovsky
was moneyest of all   our fellow-feeling
and newly fattened salaries yielding
a healthy stack of dollars

for the circumspect waiter.



Kathy and I drop twenty pounds and two hours each morning for a week
in Perry's where Moishe�Do I look like a Perry?�hawks fresh/hot/the best
Bulgarian-French-Jewish-English pastries while Sonny warms Kathy's
bitter-chocolate croissant or tops off the coffee or fetches the sprig
of parsley she's forgotten to perch on my spinach omelet or coos over Kathy's
mother's swing coat bought in the dim past at Erie's Boston Store while I played
army in my father's National Guard boots
                                                               but in the right-now Earl's Court
of Perry's nothing matters but the platoon of Israeli bakers bulldozing
a hill of apple fritters as Moishe scoops falafel for his brother born
like Moishe in Bulgaria while Sonny toddled behind her mother
in Kensington where Kathy and I will end the day over soup and wows
at the plunder larded up in the British Museum and how good and dear
tomorrow's breakfast will be.



Thirty years ago Spike Platania charged two dollars a lesson thirty years after
      blowing the out-chorus of "Cherokee" three sets a night on Atlantic City's
      World-Famous Steel Pier.

How much for a papier-mach� Easter Island? How much for Chuck Melini saying
      You got a great mother as we painted faces on the standing stones?

She pried up rocks and planted tomatoes to count the savings.

Gas up the Renault. Hope the fattest bank note covers it. Putt past the sierra at dusk
      without comparing anything to anything else.

How much the mourning dress abuela wore twelve years? How much baby clams
      anchovies    Antonio's bleating goat?

Strawberries misshapen and dusty free for the eating. Walk three kilometers to the
      village chewing free figs.

For nothing the couple bickering   the motor-scooter idling   the bell in a girl's throat.

What price mortar troweled a thousand years ago? What price the asbestos shingles
      on the ancestral bungalow?

Polkas   lime Jell-O   apple juice in a jelly glass got worked for.

Count this. It's what we have to live on.




John Repp: Poetry
Copyright © 2005 The Cortland Review Issue 27The Cortland Review