Stacie McCall Whitaker - Stone Coast, Maine

The Return of Skinny Ties

Written By: Leland Seese

A man whom I’d describe as florid
in complexion, character, and lexicon
assessed the color of the knit one as
he helped himself into the seat across
from me one morning at the Café Reggio.
He called it, Aubergine.
I was 22 and lived in the East Village,
convinced a shitty job in food service
and the squalor that surrounded 8BC
would render me The American Rimbaud.
He must have been around age 60
(my age now), an unclaimed property
badly needing renovation if not outright

The leather one, black as cool,
should cool come back in style,
will need some renovation of its own
to mend a cigarette burn branded onto it
at the Palladium at just about the hour
robins launch dawn choruses in May.
War stories. Nothing happened,
really. An actress, a face I recognized
from my sister’s Cosmopolitans
back home in Sterling Heights, used a Dunhill’s
glowing tip to answer Not a chance
when I asked her for a dance.
Two weeks later I split up with NYC.

But my collection’s ne plus ultra is a genuine
Lloyd Johnson just like Madness, just like
Down by Law. I found it on a visit
to the East Bay in the days of third wave
ska. Rancid and reconstituted Specials.
I cinched it up the other day and took
a table in Seattle where a kid about the age
of one of mine was guzzling cappuccinos
(three empty cups in front of him)
and scribbling in a Moleskine
faster than John Dillinger bled out.
His eyes were saying something halfway
between irritation and indulgence
as I pointed to his sweater with an
observation (in case he didn’t know),

That’s aubergine.

About the Author

Leland Seese / Stonecoast Review / Issue 7 / Summer 2017 / Poetry / The Return of Skinny Ties

Leland Seese’s poems appear in The MacGuffin, Juked, The East Bay Review, and many other journals. Mr. Seese is a graduate of the University of Washington (BA, English) and Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv). He and his wife live in Seattle, where they are foster-adoptive and biological parents of six children.