Tom J. Mariani

Rookie (January 1948 / San Francisco, CA)

A Short Leap (You Would Think For A Mature Audience) - Poem by Tom J. Mariani

Summer of 1966 I was
Just out of high school
Newspaper web press apprentice
For the San Francisco Chronicle

Working one night I overheard
Several journeymen
Talking about
If they could

Get up enough money
Get the bets up high enough
Buy him a couple of drinks
See if he really could do it

They wanted to talk
This other jouneyman into
Proving what
He'd been bragging about

Up until this point
It had only been a rumor
No one had seen him do it
No one believed it could be done

The proper amount of cash
Was quickly raised
Even guys from the third floor
Newsroom white shirts and ties got involved

They put in their share of money
Once the word got around
Posted their bets
I put up my two bucks

We gathered in the basement
Where the one-ton rolls
Of blank newsprint are hoisted
Like fat spindles

Spinning
At a maximum speed
Of thirty-thousand
Continuous copies an hour

When the audience had gathered
The lights in the basement were turned off
Only for a moment
So we could all see the electricity

This journeyman's claim to fame
So he had bragged was
He could put one hand
On a spinning newsprint roll

Build up enough static electricity
To be able at the proper moment
To reach into his pants
With his other hand and

Get an arc of electricity to leap
From the frame
Of the metal press
To the tip of his dick

I was too far back in the crowd
To be an actual eyewitness
It still cost me two bucks
I bet he couldn't do it

Some said it was a trick
He must have had a screwdriver
Or a piece of metal
In his pocket

Some swore it was the real thing
They saw the flash of light
The arc leapt - - - that's tall that counted
There was a little arguing over the bets

He ending up collecting his share of the money
Couldn't be convinced
To do it again for double or nothing
Once was more than enough for me too


Comments about A Short Leap (You Would Think For A Mature Audience) by Tom J. Mariani

  • (9/12/2008 8:50:00 PM)


    TOM, TERRIFIC. LOVED EVERY WORD AND DESCRIPTIVE ILLUSION/ALLUSION. YOUR TALENT IS SHOWING. CAROL (Report) Reply

    0 person liked.
    0 person did not like.
  • (9/12/2008 8:50:00 PM)


    TOM, TERRIFIC. LOVED EVERY WORD AND DESCRIPTIVE ILLUSION/ALLUSION. YOUR TALENT IS SHOWING. CAROL (Report) Reply

  • (11/26/2007 1:25:00 PM)


    It will always amaze me the stuff guys will do! ! ! And I really am old enough to know better! (Report) Reply

  • (11/24/2007 10:01:00 AM)


    Agree. The type of thing that doesn't beg to be repeated even at double or nothing. (Report) Reply

  • (11/12/2007 12:22:00 PM)


    very good tightly written piece of human emotion... (Report) Reply

Read all 5 comments »



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Poem Submitted: Sunday, November 4, 2007

Poem Edited: Friday, April 22, 2011


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