Three Poems by George Guida
My father studied years to be
a civil engineer, but then, because his brothers did,
became a cop, salaried. So we lived
not in a townhouse or cottage by the sea.
I was supposed to be a young man from a good family,
who might write about a father’s fame. Instead
I heard the hollow slamming of jalopy doors
in the driveway, waking me, how my father hid
his uniform in a leather doctor’s bag
and spoke to no one on a train I ride
the opposite way, to teach the privileged boys
whose lives I no longer care to learn.
The day of his bullet, my father came back
for a forgotten lunch. He stood in the kitchen,
under the yellow clock, his eyes, as I slung my books,
asking what in the world I would be able to do.
Alec Baldwin’s Ghost
I took my cousin to her senior prom: Massapequa, New York,
hometown of Alec Baldwin,
who must have been
We went with her deformity and wore gray and pink.
I never once the whole night thought of anything but how my hair stood up
and how embarrassed I felt among someone else’s sometime friends.
Years later a friend told a story of how Baldwin had returned
to their college, his alma mater, how he'd sat in the commons,
waiting to be seen,
when my friend approached the famous actor
and asked, “Who are you?
Pink clouds slide through the clam shell sky
like heartthrobs gone to seed
on a shimmering beach
we mortals can only dream.
Alec Baldwin used to summer here,
like me, come back to live his fantasy
on a seagrass shore at curmudgeon ease
until driven by divorce to hate the shape of life.
In his quest for peace,
I’d like to believe, a higher power sent him back
as I sit in my hometown
minivan parked on words I should have spoken
with a younger tongue on the road to Montauk
as he ponders his next move
in the kitchen of a Cape
I’d like to believe his family’s never sold,
I'd prefer not to be,
in this early hour of sunset and late success
Alec Baldwin’s ghost.
I heard her say, In Israel he lived on a caboose.
In the middle of the desert, a caboose.
He was a survivor. On a caboose.
She lives near the Long Island railroad.
Maybe that’s why she says
Woodmere is a Jewish stronghold.
They lived there until she got sick,
then moved to Del Rey Beach.
She has the book about Auschwitz
he wrote for the Museum.
They put him on a train
and killed his family.
He’s a survivor. He didn’t want to be
prosecuted, so he went to Israel.
When he saw what the caboose was like
he came here and married Sophie.
She was from Brooklyn.
People like her know you
get it when they hear
He was alone on a caboose.
George Guida has published four collections of poems, most recently Pugilistic (2015) and The Sleeping Gulf (2015). His prose books include Spectacles of Themselves: Essays in Italian American Popular Culture and Literature (2015) and The Pope Stories (2012). He is Professor in English at New York City College of Technology and Senior Advisory Editor of 2 Bridges Review