I Like To Wear Old Sweats



When I brought my jacket

into the dry cleaners

to be sewn, the Chinese lady

who runs the place

said, You should throw it away.

There is nothing I can do to make it better.


She looked at my jacket

and she talked like a doctor,

or rather, like a funeral director,

and I thought

she was going to offer euthanasia

for this thing I felt so close to.


It was like when my dog got old

and they said the same thing.

I took him home, and he’s still alive,

wagging his tail, like he’s the conductor

of an orchestra, and that’s his baton.


Same story all the time:

as soon as you get close to something

they want to take it away,

want you to conform,

tie a tie around your neck, so you’ll look like you belong,

like you’re a shirt that‘s been thoroughly starched,

and you’ve been botoxed with this perfunctory smile.


I like to wear old sweats

when I play tennis, but now

even my wife is suggesting

that if I won’t wear white shorts for the game

no one will talk to us.

So I took this home too, I mean

my old jacket, and I sewed it myself.

Let’s see if it holds together in the wash.