Threshing Room

Square-cornered morning sunlight pours
through the window and onto the bar room floor,
dust specks floating in the box-shaped ray
crawling closer to the window and a date with noon.
The day crowd only notice mahogany and bottles
and maybe faces, multiplied as in a housefly’s eye,
as the bottoms of glasses rise over their empty horizons.

At the end of the bar, a man in black looks up
from his crossword puzzle, its ink, his vision, smudged
from the slosh of his three-boilermaker breakfast .
He departs after tossing a crumpled buck on the bar
and steps into an afternoon as empty
as his last glass. At a nearby park he sits on
an empty bench in the small mid-day shade.

His suit and the paper bag in which he carries
six cold cans of Genny are stained in their sweat.
He empties and tosses each green can, as if it
was a seed to be scattered by a prairie farmer.
But it’s not. It’s like his days, mere husks left
on the threshing room floor, where the shadows
crawl longer, closer to his horizon and date with night.

Over at the dVerse Pub site, my friend Shanyn Silinski is asking for poems like seeds, growing something from them. As I always do, I twisted that request a little bit, darkening it and drying it to something different. Back to my gritty city poems.

14 thoughts on “Threshing Room

  1. Outstanding narrative/portrait here, Joe. There’s such a potential for this kind of subject to fall into cliche, but it doesn’t happen. Not a false note to be found and any of these images. Excellent.

  2. it’s so sad… the title says a lot already… looking back on a life where we planted the wrong seeds is sobering… i always think though that it’s never too late to at least change some things..

    • Sometimes in certain lives, all there is to sow are weeds. They’re a hearty species, strong and virulent, but they can choke out the societally dubbed “good” greens.

      As a writer, it’s not my place to gauge the right or wrong of the lives that spill onto my page. I’m thankful to every last one of them for gracing me with their eventual presence. 🙂

      Thank you very much for stopping by and your generous comment, Claudia. Pax!

  3. Gritty and yet reminds me of a farmer I knew who faded away as his son’s took over and he had less and less to do but drink and watch the land and sky change from his truck bed. He too seeded with empty cans. Well done my friend!

    • Thank you, Shanyn. I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated the creative spark, but I didn’t link because I can’t get around yet to visit many other people.

      Thanks again so very much!

  4. I felt my stomach lurch at his three boiler maker breakfast. Knowing this was just the beginning to his day of saturating himself. Sometimes our seeds just drown, don’t they?

    Also, I always enjoy how you intersperse your prose with upstate “culture” if you will. Those of us who have spent time there appreciate your respect for the setting and its people. Even if the beer is bad!

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