my 30th birthday

he drank a good scotch all
night from the bottle
on the tv stand he had been
saving for his birthday.
for 29 years his father
hadn’t gotten him a
thing but this time
he handed the bottle over
and said, “you’ve lost
enough now, you’re ready”.

but he didn’t think
of his father as he drank.
he thought of her
way up there in harlem
wearing new dresses
and walking new streets,
getting off work each
day and taking home a new subway.
he thought of how
she got high and didn’t say much,
things like that
used to matter
though he couldn’t remember why,
even if he never had to worry about her,
where she was
and who
she’d gone there with,
that didn’t seem like enough then,
but it did now

he was drunk and hungry
and thought of food his new
home didn’t have,
and how they
used to walk through the village
for coffee on the way
to vietnamese kitchens
and sometimes see
patti smith on her stoop
or rare breeds of
hunting dogs in the park.
he remembered her feet didn’t
reach the ground if she
sat against the back of the bench
and she crossed them at the ankles
and swung them like
a kid on a swing,
like a kid who realized
there was all the time
left in the world
and nothing was ever
going to go wrong

there were many days like that
and some weren’t like that at all

Artwork © Ira Joel Haber

Artwork © Ira Joel Haber

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer,photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows bothin the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn.