Monday, September 17, 2012

Charles Rammelkamp


At the wedding reception in Jersey City,
Manhattan's skyline on the other side of the windows,
the other couple at our table
seem to me like mystery panelists
on a television game show,
clearly there together,
just as clearly apart.

Daniel keeps disappearing
to check on the score
of the Eagles-Ravens game—
or so he explains his prolonged absences.

Plainly annoyed, Angela
refuses to apologize or explain.
"Daniel's a big boy.
He can look after himself."
They live in Philly — but not together.
They'd known the bride in San Diego —
but they’d met her separately.

Angela talks about her ex-husband
whom she’d married young.
Daniel asks about him, politely,
as if enquiring about a deceased pet,
before disappearing from the table
to check on the score again.

When the party ends, Daniel's elsewhere.
My family and I face
a three-hour drive back to Baltimore.
We tell Angela it's been a pleasure.
She smiles graciously, but
her thoughts are elsewhere.

We rise to convey our best wishes
to the bride and the groom
before going on our way,
and there's Daniel,
palming a plastic packet
bulging with white powder
into the groom's hand.

Charles reads "Taking a Powder":

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Charles confesses: "There's often a sinister intimacy at play at weddings. It's no wonder you see it so often in movies and novels. Toss in the aura of "mob glamor" of north Jersey — as happened at the 2005 marriage of my friends Marci and James — and there's no telling what might happen."

CHARLES RAMMELKAMP lives in Baltimore and edits the online journal, The Potomac. His collection entitled Fusen Bakudan, involving missionaries during the Vietnam war, has just been published by Time Being Books. A chapbook of poems entitled Mixed Signals is forthcoming from MuscleHead Press.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Accurate in many respects, but the bridegroom (James) will have it be known that the last stanza is a complete fiction. As far as we know, there was no drug trafficking at our wedding,