Checker Cab

My poem, Checker Cab, is in the Fall Issue of Black Coffee Review. Here it is without the stanza breaks. And what might be a link.

Checker Cab

It was the one story

my dad never told

even though his 

greatest pleasure

was holding forth

at the dinner table—

a cigar in one hand,

forked morsel in the other.

Dad drove a Checker cab

the graveyard shift

in New York City.

A fleet car—

he could never afford 

the medallion.

But to hear him tell it

his cab was the hottest property

in the early morning city—

attracting great names

like Vegas attracts high rollers.

Over the years, he’d driven

Spencer Tracy, Rock Hudson,

and all of the Rat Pack.

Marilyn once pecked his cheek

rather than pay her fare,

and he had to help the doorman at the Plaza

extract Mantle and Ford

from the back seat—

“drunk as skunks.”

Sinatra, he told us, never rode 

with the same dame twice,

and Jackie Gleason

would exit with a flourish—

“And away we go.”

He’d tell us of the ordinary 

people that hailed his taxi

at 4 AM

pleading their cases like bookies

hawking tout sheets at Belmont.

And the tips—

from nickels and dimes

to bank-fresh fifties.

We knew he made most

of it up—

but dad was true to a code.

There was a tiny bit of truth

in every tale.

But he never told 

us why he came home that morning

in the middle of his shift,

with blood stains on his work

clothes. He chained smoked

Camels—as he tried to still

the shakes

with a few shots of basement rye

and the longest shower

the man had ever taken.

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4 Responses to Checker Cab

  1. karenadria says:

    Great poem! Packs a wallop. Send to Josh.

    Sent from my iPhone



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