Joe Dolce: Seven Poems

Last Minute Gift Ideas for the Cheating Ex-

 a bullet with her/his name on it


a bullet with the other bastard/bitch’s name on it

a bullet with your name on it

(who said jealousy can’t be funny?)




if you’re feeling clever and sobriquet

you could give the collected set.

Joe Dolce


Chicago Typewriter

Great-granddaddy of the

AK-47      aka Chicago Piano

Organ Grinder      Trench Broom

Chopper      Tommy

the Anti-Bandit Gun

favoured for its ergonomics

wooden furniture parts

.45 calibre      type C drum magazine

designed by General John T Thompson

for World War I      (which ended

before production began)

early models offered to the public

suffered poor sales      priced at 200 dollars

compared to 400      for a Model-T

first serious customers      US Postal Service

Mafia      Irish Republic      Greek Gendarmerie

infamous during Prohibition      (yes the ones in violin cases)

mass-produced for World War II

saw action in Tobruk      the Greek Civil War


in the 1948 Arab-Israeli Conflict

the Chicago Typewriter was carried by both sides

one sold at auction in 2012 for 130,000 dollars

previous owners      Bonnie & Clyde.

Joe Dolce


Overextended Family

My uncle was a gambler

he opened the boot of his new ’57 Ford

showed ten-year-old me the green suitcase

of one hundred new decks

of playing cards seals unbroken


his daughter my first cousin married

someone crazy no-good

one day after a domestic

he unloaded his shotgun through

the trailer door killing her


his oldest son drunk

and mouthing off at a family lunch

was decked by my eighty-year-old father

who knocked him out with one punch.

Joe Dolce


Petrolhead Zen
after Gary Snyder


Drinking the neck and shoulders

off a bottle of Johnnie Walker Red


cleaning and sharpening the chainsaw


there is no other life.

 Joe Dolce




Sawdust sprinkled floors smelling of spilt lager

grown ups sitting on swivel stools

the bar lit fairground-bright

spirit bottles toy umbrellas in triangle glasses

red Maraschino cherry green tooth-picked olive

an uncle owned the beer joint near the negro

railroad tracks my mother and father

brought us kids for Friday night perch dinner

while waiting for meals my favourite time

was playing the room length 22-foot shuffleboard

a smooth slick narrow table top shooting polished

steel hockey puck discs down a waxed surface

unknowingly sliding time


in 15th Century England it was groat

large silver pennies were pushed

during the American Revolution

English soldiers and Colonialists played variations

Knock Off Horse Collar and Crazy Eight

throws included Hangers and Corners

not scoring constituted a Hickey

bets were placed in the Hickey Jar

played in backrooms during the Depression and Prohibition

it left and returned with GIs during WW II

Hollywood embraced it in the fifties

Betty Grable and Harry James had custom-built inlaid tables

hitting or shaking the board was not allowed

shooters kept one foot behind playing surface when sliding

rules required players to shake hands before and after a match

no drinks or cigarettes allowed in hands or mouth while playing

a serious gamer brought his own personalized set of steel pucks

sand once used to speed the board evolved

into fine corn and silicone wax

shuffling became almost extinct during the electronic game age

but is making a slow and steady climb back

Pee Wee Ramos is one of twelve members

inducted into the National Shuffleboard Hall of Fame

some years ago before my father died

he took me back to the old beer joint by the negro tracks

Friday night was still perch night

the local-caught fish was as good as I remembered

the shuffleboard was gone.

 Joe Dolce



Some words form souls

of other words.


In Hawaiian,

Ua—rain—is soul of




Ua sounds

the way rain feels,


Rain falls in Kaua—us,

and Aloha Kaua

may there be love

between us.

Joe Dolce


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