Tuesday, October 13, 2009

*Poem: "Sherlocks"*


It hasn't been a bar for years,
the Board of Elections office,
uptown all offices now, so at 5 o'clock,
glass doors are locked, plastic blinds pulled
and the homeless take back their places
at the foot of stone basement steps,
down narrow alleys with broken iron gates,
or out in the open, slapdash park,
new tree, glistening green bench where
the tollbooth once stood for the parking garage
that started to crumble, then was demolished.

It hasn't been a bar for years,
but once upon college days it was
the fern bar of fern bars,
actual ferns hung in the front windows,
intimate tables on various levels,
and I was into Sea Breezes, now forbidden,
grapefruit juice incompatible with Lipitor.
My soon-to-be ex-husband drank bitterness
anywhere he could, huge mugsfull.

True, the gods had not been kind to him
in the Good Looks Department.
He was short, very short, and not handsome,
too uptight for sneakers, t-shirts, a bit of beard,
and his friend Joe treated us to drinks
while we worked for his ill-fated city campaign.
I lusted for Joe, and my husband was jealous
of everyone I talked to, and juggled
his own affection for him, their good times,
and me, the unfamiliar woman who had
taken the vows, put on the ring.

He must have thought I'd stop looking then,
made me guilty for still being alive,
and I'm not sure I ever loved him now, really,
certainly never loved Joe, but
I did meet a True Love soon thereafter,
two weeks after I married, in Joe's kitchen.

Joe's mother is dead, and that man
I met wasn't Mr. Right either,
but that's the love that blooms
in me, an air fern needing neither light nor water,
reminding me to never settle, never put up with,
and even in neon pinpoints of barlight,
there are greys we can't imagine when we're
18 or 25, or even 40.
There are teetotallers living a somewhere life
that later, when you are both sober,
arrive gratis from the closed saloon,
mysterious waters suddenly clear,
to sate your deepest thirst, last call,
when you can't stay where you are.

CAR 6/2/09

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