Young boy sitting on man's shoulders.

“Capturing the Moment” by Jim Ross



by Robert Piazza

Old men leaf through girlie magazines
  while Grandpop pumps his shaving cream.

Amidst the scent of talc and cologne,
  a customer dials the telephone.

This is April, 1975—
  Oldsmobiles are parked outside.

Beneath the upholstered swivel-chair
  lies a devastated grove of hair.

Blue bottles of sterilized scissors
  line the wall-length mirrors.

Playing charades, everyone I see
  reflects a secret part of me—I hide

behind model-airplane magazines,
  lost in boyhood fantasies

of gunners strafing submarines.
  Meanwhile, the FM radio drones

like engines of bombers chugging along;
  Grandpop hums Sinatra’s songs.

Why is my mind a battle zone?
  Life is hell when Dad comes home

from carburetor factories
  where forges flair a thousand degrees.

He hurls a can of kidney beans
  at politicians on the TV screen.

Spilling a pitcher of lemonade,
  my mother ducks his hand grenade,

and little sister stifles a sneeze.
  The news reports how Vietnamese

teens were raped by US Marines.
  Behind their napes, clippers buzz

like hornets in old men’s ears;
  Grandpop snips their barbwire beards.


Rob Piazza’s poems have appeared most recently in Heart of Flesh Journal *and* Young Ravens Review. He serves as Poet Laureate of Litchfield, Connecticut.