Thirty seconds turns to thirty years:
crying in the rain,
looking for a cab uptown.
Moods of books read infect you;
storefronts and colored signs
provide clues for body and mind
through thoughts abraded by absence
and that pair of white travel pants.
Ambition has gone the way of consequence.
The poetic possibility of these many years
goes unrealized, thwarted by assumptions,
frustrated by excitement and the inexact
mercurial nature of words.
Beauty and doubt coexist
and when I tell you, “Never change,”
it is clear you already have.
There is no cause for grief here.
You assure me this is the natural progression.
Simple turns complex and agitated.
Even a walk in the park
seems cursed with careful orchestration.
You catalog my weaknesses
as if to defy how time brings change,
yet the real gift goes unspoken,
captured in our tired embrace,
hugging for a moment longer,
a firm defense against
this inevitable passage of years.
Closed eyes convey
a silent language
amidst fevered dreams
of ecstasy and dread.
Distant chimes signify
a mad struggle,
an involuntary insult,
a reneged promise
in a land of familiar mystery.
The trial of morning
brings clinging belief
with clarity akin
to a glacier’s blue ice.
Beauty is maintained
with whispers, a feathered touch,
and thoughts of kisses.
Passion’s sweet vision
teeters on uneven edge
of fashionable tolerance,
a realm of hope and hunger
made more abstract
with each passing moment.
Venus swirls and forgives
in lieu of passing virility.
Certainty flies like ephemera
on rapacious tendrils of
a noise of sensual irritation.
Let lost innocence recover
though a turbulent maelstrom
masquerading as sleep.
We roam far out of our way,
preserving illusions of independence.
We debate what’s normal
but fear becoming that cliché.
We pick up cues, lay down buzzwords
like seeds in springtime.
Dark and bizarre, odd souls
smart enough to make scammers hesitate
before unveiling the tired charade
of being robbed so far from home,
tragic, beyond tragic,
hubris and a portfolio of flaws,
we sigh politely, and silently post
another ironic Instagram,
making do with what we have.
Here is freedom.
This is our empty veranda,
these the retro porch chairs,
here we meander off the trail,
holding collective breaths,
awaiting the distant shimmer
of that gilded glowing epiphany,
realization as event,
visual proof of feelings felt,
lives lived in six-second increments,
our postmodern legacy.
For months she studied fusty phrases of the ancients,
thinking it might confer on her some apocryphal wisdom,
or at the very least a catalyst to activate his interest.
It was a futile exercise in so many ways. No fancy patois
could sway that gadabout from his inattentive ways,
flitting from callow interns to the crazy ladies on thirty-one.
There was no happy hour strategy to invoke rehabilitation,
no way into the inner recesses of his heart and mind.
She was invisible to him, a dilatory bird forced to settle
for merely hearing about others’ worms, yet insisting on
foisting herself upon the mercies of his sad whimsy
day after day, on an escalator ride to nowhere, waiting
on tenterhooks and decent health insurance, looking
for portents of love in a strangely changed world.
I touch her chin as if it’s on fire, off limits
to sense perceptions. She leads me here, astray,
visualized secrets turned wistful reality.
Disaster can start with innocent hug, a need, a quest
like a wound, sweet words twisted like pretzels
to fill voids of fantasy, fears of growing old alone.
Nothing seems real, like college once again,
painful yearnings revealed, a frostbite of heart.
She undoes buttons easily, a practiced pretender.
The season is tinged with pleasure like ashen memories,
Paris cafes and sweet syncopated jazz, thrills
of everything wrong somehow crashing together as art.
You refuse to acknowledge the end implied by this beginning,
limits imposed on this descent into hell, the concentric
blame emanating from between the glory of silent moans.
Drunk in the temporary belief that this holiday
grants total abandon, rules are cast to polar winds,
hand slides up skirt, invisible intruder, willfully ignored.
Beauty is proclaimed on a sliding scale, approvals sought
like a waiter’s dutiful order taken, an assumption that
fine food will arrive according to fancies spoken aloud.
It’s a transfer of power, of odd misguided reflections,
a staircase that leads nowhere and the strange pity
of those who deserve even stranger pity themselves.
This is no story to share with someday grandchildren:
embarrassing headline, the play on words that ends
with senseless second act and short requiem after.
It’s an argument of brilliant expectations unmet,
music smothered in breast’s cushioned muffle
while adolescent dreams are softly laid to rest.
Dreams removed at the corner ATM, twenty at a time,
and all that’s to show for it is this small piece of paper
that reminds of hidden value, of all that’s been lost.
***Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. His collection, Small Consolations (Aldrich Press) is available through Amazon, as is a chapbook, Memory Marries Desire (Finishing Line Press).***