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Thursday, December 07, 2006


by Wayne Scheer

I see the Village Voice finally gave you your fifteen minutes, Mr. G.
At least, that's what the Voice called you.
The family, of course, knows you as Cousin Harold.

You'd been showing porn at the Polk Theatre in Jackson Heights since 1959,
"Nine dirty films a day."
That's some accomplishment, Cousin Harold,
What with the way the city cleaned up Times Square,
Turning it into a haven for t-shirt buying tourists.

The article said the Polk was only one of three porno theatres left in the city.
And now you've sold the Polk.
It's expected to become an apartment building--
Just what New York City needs, another apartment building.

"I shouldn't have sold it," you say now.

It's not like you had a choice. Down to twelve customers a day,
Including the man with one glove
Who spent much of the time outside the theatre talking on his cellphone.

Still, you loved the Polk, despite its piss and old carpet stench.
"All it needs is a paint job," you told the reporter.
You wanted to save it, but like your bowler hat and black overcoat
It had become an eyesore, an embarrassment. Especially to the family.

Your daughter moved far from New York, saying only that you were in real estate.
Your most loyal employee, Sandra the ticket-taker,
Attended church every morning begging forgiveness
For the sin of selling tickets at a dirty movie theatre.

How will she feed her sixteen cats, you worry.

The Polk is gone, and you, at seventy-five, sleep all day
Because you have no place to wear your bowler hat.

After teaching writing and literature in college for twenty-five years, Wayne Scheer retired to follow his own advice and write. He's been nominated for a Pushcart Prize and a Best of the Net. His work has appeared in The Christian Science Monitor, The Pedestal, Smokelong Quarterly, Pindeldyboz and Triplopia. Wayne lives in Atlanta and can be contacted at