Neeli Cherkovski

in these elder years
old men offer meaning
for the stars
hidden in our hearts

we implore them
to explain
we ask them
to throw the junk mail
into the river

these old men
are like the trees
in our yard

they are talkers and
dreamers, they
play one, then they
play two

what can I say?
divide us into many

teach us
how to tie our shoes

these old men
play four



NEELI CHERKOVSKI was born in Los Angeles and has lived in San Francisco since 1974. He is the author of many books of poetry, including Animal (1996)Leaning Against Time (2005), From the Canyon Outward (2009), and The Crow and I (2015). He is the coeditor of Anthology of L.A. Poets (with Charles Bukowski) and Cross-Strokes: Poetry between Los Angeles and San Francisco (with Bill Mohr). Cherkovski also wrote biographies of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Charles Bukowski, as well as the critical memoir Whitman’s Wild Children (1988).