9773 Comanche Ave.

In color photographs, my childhood house looks
fresh as an uncut sheet cake—
pale yellow buttercream, ribbons of white trim

squeezed from the grooved tip of a pastry tube.
Whose dream was this confection?
This suburb of identical, pillow-mint homes?

The sky, too, is pastel. Children roller skate
down the new sidewalk. Fathers stake young trees.
Mothers plan baby showers and Tupperware parties.
The Avon Lady treks door to door.

Six or seven years old, I stand on the front porch,
hand on the decorative cast-iron trellis that frames it,
squinting in California sunlight,
striped short-sleeved shirt buttoned at the neck.

I sit in the backyard (this picture's black-and-white),
my Flintstones playset spread out on the grass.
I arrange each plastic character, each dinosaur,
each palm tree and round "granite" house.

Half a century later, I barely recognize it 
when I search the address on Google Maps 
and, via "Street view," find myself face to face—

foliage overgrown, facade remodeled and painted 
a drab brown. I click to zoom: light hits
one of the windows. I can almost see what's inside.

More by David Trinidad

Peyton Place: A Haiku Soap Opera [excerpt]

348

Just when you think you
can trust someone, they turn out
to be the Bad Seed.

349

I do not know which
to prefer: Shakespeare quote or
pillow fight after.

350

Stuffed bird and weirdo
behind desk—is Jack checking
into Bates Motel?

351

Rachel kidnaps the
baby, yes, but in preview
Betty and Rod kiss.

352

Something I learned long
ago, Connie: never turn
down a sedative.

353

Two policemen shoot
at and chase Chandler. All three
of them run like girls.

354

Leigh will one day win
Emmy, but not for losing
her mind on this show.

355

Here's Gena Rowlands,
Mrs. John Cassavetes,
much-needed fresh blood.

356

Relax, Rita won't
croak. Her weak heart will tick till
this soap gets canceled.

357

Jack escapes from jail
and takes off to do guest spots
on TV Westerns.

358

Whack! Nothing ends an
episode better than a
good slap in the face.

359

And nothing starts an
episode better than a
repeat of that slap.

360

"Again" (Fox standard)
is always playing at the
Colonial Inn.

361

Step right up, folks, and
witness Rod's imitation
of a barking seal.

362

This is just to say
Elliot ate an apple—
Golden Delicious.

My Yoko Ono Moment

for Nick Twemlow

It’s annoying
how much
junk mail
comes through
the slot
& accumulates
at the foot
of the stairs

mostly menus
from restaurants
in the neighborhood

endlessly
coming through
the slot

despite the sign
we put on the door:
No Advertisements
No Solicitors


One night
I scoop up the whole pile
on my way out
(as I do periodically)
& dump it
in the trash can
on the corner
of West Broadway & Spring

just as Yoko Ono
happens to be strolling
through SoHo
with a male companion

She watches me
toss the menus

then turns to her friend
& says, “I guess
no one reads those.”

One of 100

To be one such one—for one night only.
To be singled out
for this brief distinction

and fly first class (on miles),
wear black tie, walk red carpet.
To be met with smiles

and camera-flash
and then be asked,
by a stringer,
“Who are you?”

“A poet? What’s it
like to be that?”

One only exists
when being photographed.
One fawns all over
the aged activist—
infirm but famous.
One hungers for
the elusive hors d’oeuvres.

One meets one:
an Oscar winner
who looks great—for 83.
His secret: carrot juice.

One finds
one has nothing
to say.

Related Poems

On 52nd Street

Down sat Bud, raised his hands, 
the Deuces silenced, the lights
lowered, and breath gathered
for the coming storm. Then nothing,
not a single note. Outside starlight
from heaven fell unseen, a quarter-
moon, promised, was no show,
ditto the rain. Late August of '50,
NYC, the long summer of abundance
and our new war. In the mirror behind
the bar, the spirits—imitating you—
stared at themselves. At the bar
the tenor player up from Philly, shut
his eyes and whispered to no one,
"Same thing last night." Everyone
been coming all week long
to hear this. The big brown bass
sighed and slumped against
the piano, the cymbals held
their dry cheeks and stopped
chicking and chucking. You went
back to drinking and ignored
the unignorable. When the door
swung open it was Pettiford
in work clothes, midnight suit,
starched shirt, narrow black tie,
spit shined shoes, as ready
as he'd ever be. Eyebrows
raised, the Irish bartender
shook his head, so Pettiford eased 
himself down at an empty table,
closed up his Herald Tribune,
and shook his head. Did the TV
come on, did the jukebox bring us
Dinah Washington, did the stars
keep their appointments, did the moon
show, quartered or full, sprinkling
its soft light down? The night's
still there, just where it was, just
where it'll always be without
its music. You're still there too
holding your breath. Bud walked out.