The Real World

James Cummins Click to

cumminsJames Cummins’ most recent book is Still Some Cake from Carnegie Mellon University Press.  He was born in Columbus, Ohio and attended the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop.  He has published six books of poems and individual poems in Best American Poetry and The Oxford Book of American Poetry.  He works at the University of Cincinnati as Professor of English and curator of Elliston Poetry Collection.  He is married to poet Maureen Bloomfield, and they have two daughters, Katherine and Margaret.

Most of life is just protection money.”
Life wakes you from a dream to tell you that.
Like when it told you there’s no Easter Bunny.

The Big Boss has a voice that’s rich and plummy;
his limo’s like a predatory cat.
“Most of life is just protection money,”

he drawls, words dropping from his teeth like honey,
as he adjusts his Muga silk cravat.
“And by the way, pal — lose the Easter Bunny?”

His suits bunch up your shirtfront, whisper, “Dummy,
you got some style.  We’d like a piece of that.”
Most of life is just protection money.

Police, good roads. . . The condo on a sunny
beach, the girlfriend . . .A wife who’s run to fat . . . .
You never thought there was an Easter Bunny.

Keep your nose clean, we let you grow your tummy” —
when all is said and done, you’re fine with that.
Most of life is just protection money.
The kids want candy, not the Easter Bunny.