Hobson’s Choice


Three quarters of a century old am I, wide awake at 3 a.m.

counting falling stars streaming past my skylight window

wondering how the world will be without me?

WINS news will still drone on, Hieronymous Bosch

tales of woe that ought to make announcers weep:

another deadly fire in Newark or Jersey City ,

jack-knifed tractor trailer in South Kearny ,

serial rapist still on the loose, markets moving

up, down or sideways, fat oil tycoon from Texas

waddled off with billions, a little guy from Brooklyn

who grinds his teeth at night, lost his shirt chasing

hot tips when the bubble burst, cartel czar from Bogota

finally extradited, poor starving kids still starving

in Uganda and Somalia , mobsters with those clownish

names have rubbed out one another.

The only laugh I ever hear is when they blame

the weatherman for a rainy weekend forecast.


Remote events are vivid as recent memories stumble.

Can’t forget Sunday drives to Fox street in the Bronx

in a perky model-A filled with quirky aunts:

Jenny, Goldie, Lizzy, all prematurely senile

who lived on cherry candy and a little bit of schnaps.

Picking crab apples in the Fall, we simmered a syrupy

sweet sludge that we ate on pumpernickel with a glass

of svetouchnee tea brewed in a shiny copper samovar.

They played with me with polliwogs stuck to the tips

of their noses as we jumped about like Pinochios.


I plan to stick around a while and write a few more poems.

My wife will surely miss me when I’m gone, my warm

body and steely fingers that nightly melt her knots away.

Kids and grand-kids will be pained till grieving runs its course,

nature’s way of letting go when letting go is Hobson’s choice.


Milton P. Ehrlich