Monday, December 19, 2016

Robert Cooperman


Snow falling hard as Tommy gun slugs,
and the wife and our two kids with no food
and me with no cash for presents
for Kenny and Shirl. So what choice
did I have but to knock over a bank,
even if the gun—if you looked close—
just shot caps?

I picked a bank not too far from the walk-up
we owed two months' rent on; the landlady
an old bat who rattled on in some language
that gave me headaches to listen to her,
understanding enough to know
she'd threatened to put us out.

So I had to come up with something for her,
something for our stomachs,
and most important something for the kids,
so they'd still believe in Christmas miracles.

I shoved the fake gat in the teller's face
and told him to fill my sack. Trembling,
he stuffed bills into the bag and I ran.
Whistles went off, a cop gave bloodhound
chase, and I was leaving tracks in the snow:

so I just kept running and running,
knowing how the chase would end.

Gerald So reads "Depression Era Christmas Eve Bank Robbery":

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Bob confesses: "I was thinking about that chase scene in It's a Wonderful Life, when George Bailey is totally befuddled by nothing being the same in Pottersville, since he wasn't around, never having existed. From there, I decided on a bank robbery that would go badly for the poor sap who had to resort to thievery."

ROBERT COOPERMAN's latest collection is Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press). Forthcoming in 2017 are Draft Board Blues (FutureCycle Press) and City Hat Frame Factory (Aldrich Press).

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