DEATH OF AN ITALIAN BIGOT

The lesbian neighbors

started home improvement that morning

Call time for the hispanic help was 7am

I didn't need an alarm

The motorcade of hondas

with notes of mariachi music

flying out the windows

began at 6:42

and I woke up

from a sound asleep

dreaming of a far away uncorporate empire

so colored and textured

I stood on the street

turning at it all

and it made me want to paint

or dance

or go to the bathroom

so I got out of bed

did a little wiggle to the Mariachi

into my slippers

but on my third step I stopped

I felt like an empty hose

getting fuller and heavier

as running water flowed through

and then I remembered

uncle died last night

that's right, poor guy

it was a bad case of bigotry in his bones

dad had been taking care of him

everyday for a year

so I was partially relieved

dad was free

and partially happy for uncle

because he didn't have to hate people anymore

there was a heavy fog that morning

uncle must've had a comfortable ride up

the mariachi music spread in the air

like soft butter on toast

and maybe the mexican men

were playing it for the italian

hoping now he might listen to the joy

instead of swatting it away like a fly in his face

Uncle was gone

and now there was no man I knew

with the belly of a pregnant woman

and bent sticks for legs

walking up to gramma's table

stuffing a wrinkled napkin in his shirt collar

stabbing his spaghetti

turning it with a vengeance

the tail of the bite whipping his chin

before disappearing into his dark mouth

all the while

sticking his nose like a gun to my forehead

talking with the passion of a waterfall

never ending sentences

that sprayed spit all over me

screaming about the niggers

complaining about the jews

making fun of the micks

a history lesson for me

every time we ate together

learning to pronounce words

like spic pollack nazi

uncle died in his sleep

at Beth Israel Hospital

and the Jewish man in the next bed

heard him whisper something before he went

maybe it was I'm sorry

or maybe it was good ridings

uncle died

and I'd like to say all bigotry went with him

but in these tough times

sometimes a man's hate

is all he's got to live for