Posted in Death


Beautiful, not an adjective applied to men
but at that moment he was
auburn hair undiluted by age
eyes microscoped by the large lenses of fashion
wistful and blue distending into the troubled future.

Almost three decades later
I could return to the room and mark
the exact point where carpet and prophecy bisected.
The 1980’s
but still the seventies
cushions on the floor, earthenware goblets.

Crystals stalactite from the ceiling
stirred by children’s high octave laughter
the Red Sea of noise parted
to allow the passage of prediction
brief seconds of sorrow while hyperactivity gathered breath.

The topic of conversation a fellow employee
older than us
but not by the margin self deprecation claimed.
Some people will not die from old age
my friend solemnly pronounced
sobriety draped black over us.

Seventeen years later the same room
in a different home
one divided by the absolute symmetry of divorce.
My first return to the town where pain began
a visit which has healing as its intention
but only deepens the bleeding.
Names from the past punctuate the evening meal
our former colleague?
Died. Ten. No, eleven years ago.

How old? Not yet fifty. I recall our discussion
at another place
in another time
and the prediction that was statement.
Blue eyes contract behind contemporary frames
and distil fractions of past. He has no recollection.

For the back story click Backstage
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Most of my life has been spent on the bench, occasionally called into the game by extravagance or attenuation. Waiting has turned a loner into a recorder - nondescript and inconsequential, more not noticed than overlooked - the non-vantage point of children not yet considered old enough to understand. Orphaned Islands (Un)poetry is a lifetime of picking anecdotes up and not throwing them away. Stories collected like odds and ends placed in a box in the basement, the garage, the garden shed - uncertain as to what their use might be but knowing that one day there might be one.