Seriously Funny
{A Bumbershoot Special Feature}

Michael Cantor,

a former business executive, New York-born, has lived and worked in Japan, Europe and Latin America and now resides on Plum Island, north of Boston on the Massachusetts coast.

His poetry has appeared in Measure, The Formalist, The Dark Horse, The Comstock Review, The Atlanta Review, and many other journals and anthologies. He has won the New England Poetry Club Gretchen Warren Award.

A chapbook, The Performer, is available from Pudding House Press.

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The Sugar Man

At try-outs, sweet Jack Sugar was the one
with all the moves, who walked his sloping walk
as athletes do, who called himself The Hawk,
the Sugar Man!—who nonchalantly spun
two basketballs on fingers on a run
across the gym, and bowed as we all gawked.
But we were sharp, and mean, and soon the talk
was that he was all show—a greedy gun
who threw up brick on brick, and played no “D.”
Jack had the look and style—smooth as glass –
but couldn’t make a shot and wouldn’t pass:
by next semester he was history.

Oh Sugar Jack, Jack Sugar, my main man!
So much of you still makes me think of me.
I hope you found a you that set you free
to blend those shakes and head fakes with a plan,
so no one knows for certain if you can
do what you say you do. Make style the key,
and play your own fine game aggressively.
Be poet, politician, businessman;
you need a place where you can sky and soar,
and that’s what counts—not baskets made or missed –
but misdirection, magic tricks, and twists;
and how you look is how they keep the score.