it’s a divebar down a back alley, it’s where you end up
when the decent joints have barricaded the doors for
the night – the cowardly night that’s getting it’s butt
kicked by the harlequin dawn.
outside, the rain is a concert,
the thunder music & the strobe lights…
the bartender has sad eyes, you feel like
you’re hurting him when you order a cocktail.
he blends me a whiskey sour
but I’m not drinking it –
he offers me his own exposition of loneliness,
but I’m not writing it,
instead I write my love poem on a matchbook cover,
but I can’t sell it, even with a full clip of matches.
maybe I watch the shadows stumble in from the rain,
single file & shivering, & if I watch for another moment, they
will disintegrate like the days & nights of my destitute life…
if my beauty queen is among them, she keeps the collar of
her trench turned up, scarf & dark glasses hiding her anguish.
I conclude that she & I are very much alike: alone & lonely.
yet we maintain a cold distance between each other;
to intrude on someone else’s trouble is asking for one
more slash across the heart.
she has secrets that sleep in another man’s bed –
I embrace my sorrow because it is mine.
the melody of the rain taps a drowsy crescendo,
& we must kiss the evanescent stars goodnight.
the bartender chants, go home, go home –
your ghostly lovers are waiting…