We Look & See


I am erratic, a man without skin. I have given up believing
in night and my soul pinches at the thought of harvesting
ideas. Ideas like the mesmeric effect of insinuation
on the flat surface of a river. Ideas that any song that is sung,
out of tune by a nicotine-stained man who stands outside
the window, can be heard across an open square. Once,
in a hospital room far away from suitcases and friendships
of the middle class, there was a chance and maybe a choice.
Now everything is faded past in the mirror of books and dust
that lies thin and plastic on my coverlet. Two more drinks
ought to do it. Ought to be enough to wash the stink of morning
into the street and down the alley. The phone rings. One. I wonder
if the voice on the other end has any meaning. Two. I remember
a cream colored napkin with a phone number. Three. She said
her name was Lucy but the scent of her hair said Rita. I forget
for a moment there is no way to stop a bus from leaving
the station and once the smell of cigarette smoke gets blown
into the wooden slats on a forlorn bench it is time to go home.
Half way through four it stops. The silence is raw like innocence
when it is left to dry on the sidewalk after a hard rain. I should know
better but I pick up the phone and listen to the dial tone as it buzzes
and then beeps its way into the soft core of midnight.


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