Wait Till You're Twenty-One

by Bruce Lader

Wait Till You’re Twenty-One

All day down in the salt mine basement
his clients visit, lodge brothers
he embraces with the gift of gab,
as if it’s been ages since the nights
they kibitzed pinochle, gin rummy,
and bridge. He loves them more than me,
his number-one trophy. At last,
they’ve gone, but he’s busy together
with unending work and classical music
as friends. He needs the debit
of this no-account, disrespectful teen
like mortgage payments. He swishes
a glass of Lipton, smokes another Camel,
plots the maps of their fiscal lives,
saving them taxes. He brags the balance
is a happy medium like Mendelssohn’s
Italian Symphony playing. It vexes him
that I sulk so much, when he’s providing
the time to myself he didn’t have.

March Street Press, 2005

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Bruce Lader is the former director of Bridges Tutoring, an organization educating multicultural students. Currently he brings writers' groups together in the Raleigh area, gives readings in the NC Triad and appears widely on YouTube, local TV, radio, podcasts and international magazine sites. Poetry Foundation, Poets & Writers, New York Quarterly, and many other literary resources archive his work. Lader’s poetry is characterized by a humanistic world vision, psychological insight, ironic humor, and speculative imagination. His themes are the need for freedom, love, and social justice. Describing Landscapes of Longing, Kathryn Stripling Byer commented: “…a powerful, unsparing, and yet tender book about the realities of self and culture that have assailed us since the beginning of human time.” Kelly Cherry wrote of Fugitive Hope: ... " [the book] deepens, broadens, and sweetens, as a pastoral symphony might…. an astonishing journey, beautiful and hopeful.” Discovering Mortality was a finalist for the 2006 Brockman-Campbell Book Award. In addition to winning the 2010 Left Coast Eisteddfod Poetry Competition, he has received a writer’s residency from the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation and numerous honoraria.

Last updated September 16, 2011