Spring 2008, Volume 4

Poetry by Rhoda Greenstone

How Good I Never Won the Lottery

How good I never won the lottery
Or else I’d be in a large house, not this little cottage
But a three storied one at least (or two stories and
An attic) with a skylight that makes music on rainy days
And dormers to look out which offer a view to take in
Mindbending sunsets rather than a living room window
That faces Tony’s boarding house crowd
Across the street. People move in and out of Tony’s
All day and night. The woman with the spiked
Black hair and nose clips wears tube tops that show how
Concave her chest is,  how hard her little nipples get when
She strides back and forth in front of the perma-open screen
Door in total control of her real wood platform shoes
As she feeds her addiction to her cell phone.

So good to get filled up here on even a shallow breath rather than
Risk my health on the kind of inhalation that could make me dizzy
If I had a beach house (these days a shack within a mile
Of the ocean goes for two million at least). Around this place
All I have to do is breathe ordinarily to get a snoot full of blood
Enriching garlic from the two-storied number on the west whose
Side door bangs into my fence and whose three families have
Three rat sized dogs whose barks sound like asthmatic wheezes
Or get a contact high from the spiced pungent air drifting into my
Bedroom window from the neighbors’ to the east whose
Serial children stagger visits (teens Wednesdays and Saturdays;
Toddlers and preschool kids every other day but Sunday.  I don’t
Know where they all go but the house is always dark on Sunday).

It makes me think how poor my existence would be if I won the lottery

BIO:  "My poems have appeared in ABCtales, Samisdat Review, Wascana Review, The Rag, Verdad, and other journals. In an earlier life I contributed to many publications in Southern California, among them the Hollywood Reporter, Pico Post, Beverly Hills Independent, Malibu Times, Classics West magazine, and L.A. Times. A chapter I wrote deconstructing my poem, "Letter from L.A." will appear in Poem, Revised, edited by Robert Hartwell Fiske (Marion Street Press) later this year. For the last two decades I have instructed college students in the joys of language arts and humanities."