Lloyd Bailey

“Bad Hair Day”

By Lloyd Bailey



The corridors seem distant, seem darker.

There are no bright countenances.

The morning hues are haunted and hostile.

Where have all my friends wandered?

Anger and aggression have replaced harmony.

It invades my R.E.M.

turning my morning wood

into pallid putty;

this is no way to meet the day…

I splash cold water on my face,

but the mirror doesn’t change.

It’s in the eyes

that never wash away.

The fresh air inhales stale,

ominous clouds dim the sun.

I squint my eyes still.

I’ve gone searching for my friends.

I’m looking for what I lost.




“Working for the Man Sucks!”

By Lloyd Bailey



Like a bullhorn he bellows,

“Before ye boys breach my domain,

with your bad manners and boisterous ways,

I require an inspection from coiffure to boot tips

beginning with crop, parted firmly down leftern crown,

countenances scrubbed squeaky,

eyes forward and determined,

and chin bare of whiskers.”


Now he marches up and down the line,

making adjustments,

“You sir, cannot enter my kitchen

until you starch that collar.

You, tighten up that shirt bottom.

You look bloated about your belly.

You, boy, unbuckle that belt. You’ve missed a loop in the back.

Good Christ man, you consider those pants creased?

They’re flat as a flapjack. Invest in an iron immediately.

Pull up that pant leg, sir. I suspect a sockless wonder.

What’s this? Ankle socks? You, sir, are not your sister.

Calf high gentlemen and colored black.

Now fetch your eyes fellows

and follow this man’s shoe shine”

He bends over and picks some biscuit in the reflection,


And continues,

“You, separate six dozen eggs.

You, take the whites, turn them into mayonnaise.

Make it tight.

You, make the yolks into hollendaise.

Snap to it boys. I haven’t got all day.”

As he marches through his office door,


“1,2,3,4. 1,2,3,4.”




“Bellow the Bowery off the Commons”

By Lloyd Bailey


Front porch a veritable ashtray,

wooden steps a smoker’s playground

of used butts and char black burns,

ash flakes reign everything.


Men speckle stoop sipping coffee,

thousand yard stares,

scattered “yeps” and “uh-huhs,”

foot shufflings and watch checkings.

Ruby sun in western purple sky

intimates time.


Tobacco rich air permeates the room –

that pungent after smoke stench –

wares heavy on the place

with a thick black coffee aftertaste.

Pensive is the mood

as eye contacts are made,

and head nods are had.

(Donuts sit stale in a box.)

After serenity is granted

everyone settles in

for the long haul.


Experience, strength, and hope

is the message.

New comers are most important,

but none are present.

This is no place for amateurs;

this meeting is not en vogue.

Gravely voices prevail.

Five o’clock shadows

are warranted.

You get two minutes.

Then shut up.

Sip, don’t slurp,

lest you relish the stink eye.


Holding hands is forbidden,

same goes for shoulder wraps.

When it’s time

stand up, bow your head, and clasp your fingers.

Now recite the “Lord’s Prayer.”


Outside it’s cool, freshing, and dark

save for firefly glows of cigarette tips.

The evening is cathartic.

Men wait to be delivered.

Someone suggest more

coffee and donuts

at a diner

down the street.

Most everyone migrates.

No one wants to be alone,

not at time like this.



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