Table for one, that’s what I get
Since we no longer talk, and yet
I’m not alone like other men
Might be in bar, cafe or den,
Since here you see the place I’ve set.
That’s no surprise to you I’ll bet,
Knowing how I would sit and fret,
Even at this lonely, this Zen
Table for one.
Sure, there have been others I’ve met,
whom places in my life I let.
But only you are with me when
My obsession cries through this pen.
Two ink stains we’ll leave at this wet
Table for one.
It looks, from this warrior’s level,
as if the battle finally has ended.
Upon this field, once-sustaining empty vessels,
as well as worn, broken and crumpled weapons
lie strewn from edge to edge,
foreground to horizon.
More still have fallen out of his sight.
Dreams, hopes, plans, idle inspiration,
they hover above the expanse
like a morbid miasma, like the fog of war,
like the spirits of the dead.
Over there he seee the pictures
of the warrior’s children, forever young,
He thinks, “This is what defeat looks like.”
And yet, as you can see, he’s won the battle.
The bottles can be returned,
the cups, pencils, paper replenished
and with them this warrior’s resolve.
Pyrrhus will live to fight another day.
He is Homer, he is Herodotus.
Or perhaps he is Caesar, writing
his own history of battles joined,
won, lost, best forgotten.
He knows the end could come tomorrow,
but that same tomorrow he’ll engage
the enemy once more, fighting
with himself on this 4′ x 2′ battlefield
for what makes him feel most alive
and keeps one day’s words forever young.
The rhyming poet his words moves around,
even though no one ever talks that way.
It’s more important to match that end sound
than put a verbal horse before the dray.
Sure, the rhymer throws words no one uses.
Great you’ve got vocabulary to burn.
Though he may try accepted abuses,
like slant rhymes and language kinda “fureign.”
Lately, I can’t conjure story or verse,
a condition I still fight more than fear.
Since I have no muse to help break this curse,
I’ll play this game to get my ass in gear.
I’ve a Shakespeare costume, and I don it.
then strut and fret on this page…my sonnet.
Within, the emptiness rules, cold and dark.
It’s been this way how long I just can’t say.
Probably long as I’ve not raised a spark,
in here to warm and light another day.
I’ve given up groping my way around,
gave up about almost all I once did
once upon a time, like new stories sound.
Now new stories have run away and hid.
You’d think I’d hear old echoes in this space
where once so many voices talked to me.
I can’t bear to listen, in any case,
lest your voice I hear and dreamed-up you see.
It’s new dreams I need, to fill up my mind,
not blank memories of this life left behind.
The “excuse-me” mist drops
like a ghost rain blurring
the windows. But,
there are no windows.
I stand here and let it
touch my face, soft and cold,
when instead I’d prefer
your touch, once soft and warm.
But that won’t be today.
It’s probably just my imagination
feeling something not really real.
Like there ever really was a you,
or there ever really has been a me.
Perhaps I’m just another
“excuse-me” drifting and bumping
my way through the tiny drops
of time. But, excuse me if
I still envision, blurrily through
misted eyes, a ghost us.
What is a poet to do
when he has nothing left to say?
No matter where I look,
I see nothing that would move me
to some emotional spillover
like a simple blade of grass,
the aroma of bacon on a griddle,
a baby’s smile, or you just existing
I don’t know why this happened.
Does a painter run out of form,
light and color to paint?
Does a composer run out of tones
to string together? Of course not.
Then why have I lost my capacity
to sense and react with words?
Maybe I’ve just run out of Me.
And I don’t know where
to find Me’s anymore.
“How are you today?”
I ask too often,
speaking it into that empty space
where something of you remains.
Not like a photo,
since my memory is of someone
who probably doesn’t or never did exist.
This is the space where
I’ve kept something you wore that
conveys more than a fuzzy, faded look
of care-less I never did accept.
Even with years of hanging
in the back of my mind’s closet,
I can hold it by the hand,
impart some of my own warmth
to it, hoping it might echo
the sense of a hug and the aroma
of perfume and sweat that’d
mean more to me now than a slight smile
suspended from red-reflected eyes
an Instamatic caught in
a moment of surprise…
or maybe disappointment.
So I ask, “How are you today?”
though I probably wouldn’t
recognize your voice,
just the warm smell of you
from a last hug I made last.