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 Daniel Sklar

Posted in  Daniel Sklar with tags on February 7, 2022 by Scot

From Boston

tall young
in miniskirts
and makeup,
and laughing
as they
walk through
the train cars
for seats.


Hack License Part One

When I drove a taxi
for 57th Street
Management in NYC
from 1977 to 1980,
a lot of drivers
didn’t pick up Black people,
said the tips were bad.
“Why should they tip?”
I took some young women
from a club in Manhattan
to Flatbuush. One told
the other to leave a tip.
“Here’s a tip–
Get out of Brooklyn.”
One time a gang came
at me with bricks and bats.
I floored it.
My cab broke down
in front of the Playboy Club
on 59th Street.
Bunnies came in and out
while I waited for a tow.
Soupy Sales,
Wood Allen,
Jim Nabors,
were in my cab
I used to sing
“I’ve Got the World
on a String,”
flying down
Park Avenue.
At four a.m. she
hailed me.
Icelandic Airways,”
was all she said.
I still think about her.


Orson Welles on TV

It’s no mystery, really.
I was probably happy
just to be working.
“Ladies and Gentlemen,
Mr. Orson Welles,”
said Dean Martin.
Hell, more people
saw me play Falstaff
than any movie I made.
When I did Shylock,
through your tears,
you forgot
I was wearing a tuxedo.
I mean, I am Orson Welles,
for goodness’ sake,
great thespian, and director.
You must realize that
even the one-liners on those
“Dean Martin Celebrity Roasts”
are theater. After all,
Shakespeare’s insults:
“Cutthroat dog.”
“Peace, ye fat guts.”
“Thy face is not
worth sunburning.”
“Thou damned
and luxurious
mountain goat.”
“Thou wear a lion’s hide!
Doff it for shame,
and hang a calf’s-skin
on those recreant limbs.”
I was the jester
in the calf’s-skin.
I was having fun.
But I was also thinking,
how long can I
keep up the laughter?
It was in my contract
to howl at every joke
for the camera.
“…to be comrade
with the wolf and owl.”
Howling is howling,
whether it is under
the moon and stars
or the lights
of Las Vegas.
I made money.
It was work.
I was a famous actor.
Thank you, senior citizens.
It’s show business.


 Daniel Sklar teaches Creative Writing at Endicott College. His work has been published in the Harvard Review, English Journal, Beat Scene, and the New York Quarterly among other journals. His books include Flying Cats, Hack Writer, and Bicycles, Canoes, Drums. He rides a bicycle to work.