[wpaudio url=”/audio/june11/chilar.mp3″ text=”listen to this poem” dl=”0″]
January in Milwaukee and the snow is dirty gray and up to their bellies.  The wind whips off the lake like razor blades.  Not the safety kind, the other kind, of which there is sometimes a loose one in a bathroom drawer and it nicks fingers searching for a comb or a band-aid, of which you now need two.  And the predictions are for more of the same.  The sky is hunching closer every day.  Herbert, Humphrey, and Dale are tired of it all.  Of being cooped up, of bratwurst, of beer.  Of eyes-only fat folks in down jackets, snowmobile suits, and mile long scarves.  There is no fashion in Milwaukee.  The dry air is making their ears flake dandruff.  The discussion lasts less than a minute.  Let’s take a trip.  Where to?  Manhattan!  Okay.  Let’s go.  I’ll pack.  The Greyhound bus is filled with folks heading anywhere but here.  A baby cries, an old woman whimpers in her sleep.  There is a certain cabbage smell.  And someone is sneaking a cigarette in the toilet.  But H, H, and D are happy with their adventures and ignore the vagaries of travel.  They have tickets to Billy Elliot:  The Musical.  New York City is everything they imagine.  Elevators up tall buildings, the Statue of Liberty, bagels with a schmear, souvenir shops playing Frank S.  They schlep all over the city.  And that is the end of the story.  Well, Dale gets mugged.  And they miss Karl Ratzsch’s German Restaurant, especially the Sauerbraten.  So in the end, back to Milwaukee they go.  The cab drivers are definitely friendlier there.  Especially to three dromedaries with one hump each.