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The Q17 would take me past Jamaica Estates—
though I didn’t know then of Trump,
whose pop already was a big deal in Brooklyn,
but I knew this was where the rich folks lived.
And I’m sure young Donald, though a bully even then,
wasn’t the one who pushed me aside
and shook me down for a couple of dimes
in the arcade at the Jamaica Terminal
just to get at the shooting range,
with a rifle that shot light at the little metal ducks that
would shut with a snap like a flock of cheap valises.
A guy like him didn’t take the bus, I learned,
and would have pocketsful of dimes to fill his own machines
that lined his basement finished in teak and kingwood—
and had real guns to shoot at summer camps
with riflery and riding, Western and English,
and cloth napkins that came with service
and they didn’t dare call it mess.
My father would drive us through Trump’s part of the world
this time of year to see the Christmas lights of the rich,
and we probably went by his house a couple of times,
though the really well-to-do never put up lights,
while the newly rich installed just one color—a melancholy blue—
on their mansion’s outer edge so passersby like us might be awed by its size,
in the winter dark, while the family that might have lived inside
was off on a cruise, though they likely left the curtains open,
and the white lights shaped like candles on the huge tree
would illuminate those ten foot ceilings, in those cavernous front rooms
that otherwise were never permitted to reveal
even a shadow.
Alan Walowitz has been published various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry, and teaches at Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY and St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Alan's chapbook Exactly Like Love is available from Osedax Press.