Bench Press (for Lawrence Ferlinghetti)

Bench press
for Lawrence Ferlinghetti

Once upon a time these scratched lines would have danced
over wood
Like twisting bodies turned
by tequila springs

Once upon a time they would have tied policemen’s 
tongues before they lashed
my reddened skin

Once upon a time knives cut into
hearts with words instead of wounds 

Once upon a time judgement 
did not fall 
from gavels
from pursed lips, cursed hips, sly smiles, stylish swish or guile
But from a tidy pen
a single scarlet mark 

Once upon a time engravings on an empty seat would
call out to their god
Once upon a time they might dream a 
holy stranger stopped and brushed them with his holy cloth
And laughing, leaving gave a nod
And drifted out of sight

And once upon a time 
he might

(Dan Holloway)

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