traffic signals

the old folks play a game
in the park overlooking the sea
shoving markers across cement
with wooden sticks.
four play, two on each side
and 18 or 20 others sit in
the sun and watch.
I notice this as I move
toward the public facility
as my car is being repaired.

an old cannon sits in the park
rusted and useless.
six or seven sailboats ride
the sea below.

I finish my duty
come out
and they are still playing.

one of the women is heavily rouged
wearing false eyelashes and smoking
a cigarette.
the men are very thin
very pale
wear wristwatches that hurt
their wrists.

the other woman is very fat
and giggles
each time a score is made.

some of them are my age.

they disgust me
the way they wait for death
with as much passion
as a traffic signal.

these are the people who believe advertisements
these are the people who buy dentures on credit
these are the people who celebrate holidays
these are the people who have grandchildren
these are the people who vote
these are the people who have funerals

these are the dead
the smog
the stink in the air
the lepers.

these are almost everybody
finally.

seagulls are better
seaweed is better
dirty sand is better.

if i could turn that old cannon
on them
and make it work
I would.

they disgust me.