Wednesday, March 29, 2017


i was not gifted with good hair
Ma sent me to the local discount
barber, who would mutilate my cowlick
making me look even worse
if i walked past the shop
on Addison Street
in summertime he would
wave me in, give me a buck and send
me to the Southport L station
to pick up the Green
Sheet, the tout sheet of the day
so that he could phone his 
picks into the bookie
i managed classroom boredom by
reading Damon Runyon stories,
Guys and Dolls, Blue Plate
Special and such, which led
to my college years horse playing
and academic underachievement
when they weren't running locally i'd bet
two bucks across the board
at New York City tracks
the race results were on page 1 
every day beneath the fold
on the Herald American, the first edition
hit the news stands at 2PM
almost instant gratification
in those glorious years
i met Ralph the Bookie
and Vic the Druggist's nephew
a clerk at the neighborhood downtown
stationery store who
also took bets - my school work suffered
but having become a reader i 
discovered the Daily Racing Form
--one immortal headline: FINISHED FULL OF RUN--
purchased at Chicago and Michigan
which none of my Loyola classmates
appreciated or wished to borrow
i'd think of the barber and his Green Sheet
when i'd visit the south loop warehouse
where Ralph the Bookie 
operated the freight elevator 
to place my bet
or in the Eye-talian grocery store 
with the steam table where the
B&O railroad workers lunched
along with Ralph, Tony, and so many others
i learned how to appear circumspect
these days when i mention Damon Runyon
to the smarties at morning coffee i get
a blank look, even from the guy with
the j-school diploma from an elite venue
among his countless excellencies
Jimmy Breslin wrote Runyon's
biography, as well as many other 
books and countless newspaper columns,
second in the trade only to Mike Royko
during my elective absence from the Vietnam war,
the summer of 1969, when Breslin
was on the mayoral ticket with
Norman Mailer--Vote the Bastards IN--
i thought to volunteer
in some meager capacity but decided
my escape to Canada was more urgent
as luck would have it the Great White North
found me unsuitable for landed immigrant status
O they're all dead by now, Ralph, Royko, Vic's 
nephew, Vic himself, Damon Runyon 
decades ago, then Mailer, in 2007--
and yesterday Jimmy Breslin
there's no finish to this meager
nothing, nothing at all, except for

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer

Wednesday, March 8, 2017


by fashionable enticement
at the library, the supermarket,
the drivers license renewal counter
yoga pants, distressed
bluejeans showing a little thigh
skin, dramatic lipstick
heels that cant the pelvis
appealingly, sort of a public service,
sophisticated suburban hairdo
highlights, gym figures
displayed assuredly, 
almost boldly
my chubby toddler oblivious
to one of her futures
the new feminism, 
almost equal pay, 
equal bedroom rights
equal pain
i hold
the at-home moms
at arm's length
no hug-hello at library
story hour, at music and movement,
the playground swings
at the mall admiring
hand-woven carpets 
with my perfect daughter
who says, let's go, dad
perfect daughter turning 34 this year
good job, dad!

copyright © 2017 by patrick o'hayer