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…
then it strikes me that they are actually people.
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 we are all very much alike,
we are all alone & we are all lonely.
yet we maintain a cold distance between each other,
as if someone else’s loneliness is a disease,
a leprosy more hideous than our own.
the melody of the rain taps a sleepy crescendo,
& we must kiss the stars goodnight.
the bartender chants, go home, go home –
home is where the heartache is…