Tuesday Poem

My Mother

My mother writes from Trenton,
a comedian to the bone
but underneath, serious
and all heart. “Honey,” she says
“be a mensch and Mary too,
it’s no good to worry, you
are doing the best you can
your Dad and everyone
thinks you turned out very well
as long as you pay your bills
nobody can say a word
you can tell them to drop dead
so save a dollar it can’t
hurt—remember Frank you went
to highschool with? he still lives
with his wife’s mother, his wife
works while he writes his books and
did he ever sell a one
the four kids run around naked
36 and he’s never had,
you’ll forgive my expression,
even a pot to piss in
or a window to throw it,
such a smart boy he couldn’t
read the footprints on the wall
honey you think you know all
the answers you don’t, please try
to put some money away
believe me it wouldn’t hurt
artist shmartist life’s too short
for that kind of, forgive me,
horseshit, I know what you want
better than you, all that counts
is to make a good living
and the best of everything,
as Sholem Aleichem said
he was a great writer did
you ever read his books dear,
you should make what he makes a year
anyway he says someplace
Poverty is no disgrace
but it’s no honor either
that’s what I say,

by Robert Mezey
from Naked Poetry
Bobbs-Merrill, 1969