Ernie Taylor in the 30’s

dug ditches in a CCC camp,

swore he’d never work

that hard again and never did.

Some covet vineyards in Provence ,

some their photo on magazine covers,

Ernie a little beer money

and the freedom to be odd.

He cleaned house and cooked

for sweet Loretto, an IRS clerk,

made love to her every night

and weekend afternoons,

trimmed hedges now and then

for widows and sick old men,

ladled soup into the cups of the wounded,

pushed wheelchairs at the VA.

Every noon Ernie, at the neighborhood tap,

presided over world affairs,

a bowl of spicy goulash, brown bread

and frosty mugs of lager.

A tam knitted by Loretto

cocked on his naked bean,

he could grin a constipated Republican

into voting Democratic.

He died with that grin

after a mid-winter’s lunch,

a round of cold ones, two or three smokes,

and a Jim Beam hummer.

In his will, they said, he left Loretto all

his love, a hedge trimmer and rake,

and his legacy of living

a good and honest life.

Now that, my friends,

is an American dream.


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