JS (08/25/1972 / Washington, D.C.)

Lonesome Sailor

I.

It is winter and the nights are cold
and the sound of the wind
is the lonesome companion of my heart.
The beauty of the moon offers me no relief
but only waters my garden of sighs and misspent wishes.

Tonight
we are the only two left in this bar
and I don't know
what you are like or who you are

but I heard the wind
howling
through both of our hearts
at once.

Yes, it would be nice
if Love drew us to the side
and coached us on the meaning of intimacy.
Then, we would see our innocence
and cast off this armor of need.
But without such guidance
nothing ever comes together they way it could
and we must guide ourselves
though I am drunk, and lost, and far from home.

Love does not frequent here.
He was shunned by too many like me
who felt his life too dirty and hard
to enjoy the pure, softness of Him.

But, sometimes,
He seeps inside, underneath the soles of some patron's feet,
or from their pockets when they pull out their billfold or handkerchief
and He slips under someone's eyeglasses
silent, more subtle than to surprise anyone,
and their eyes begin to tear
until they wipe away their slumber

and suddenly a bashful light shines about the person
on their little spot in the dim room.

But, where is Love tonight?
I drowned Him, I think,
in the aged sobs I hold inside.

Oh, He is a friend who abandoned me long ago!

He used to reach down
with childlike gestures
to play in my footsteps.

But I barked at Him
like a dog to scare away.
I couldn't help it, I told Him.
'I'm angry- that's why.'

He has forgotten me
and He will never come back, I know.

You, Miss! Hello.
That's a pretty dress you have on.

'Oh, (ahem) , well, thank you.
You look smart in that coat.'

Yes, well.
It's late.

'Yes.
It is late.'

The bar-
the bar will be closing soon.

'Yes. It will, sad to say.'

There must
be somewhere else
a man can go:
a place that
won't
shut
him
out.


II.

Tonight
we are the only two
left in this bar

and it doesn't matter
what you are like
or who you are.
You don't even have to tell me your name.

But, I heard the wind howling
through both of our hearts at once
and, lady, if we needed a reason
let it be that we both have bodies
and we both are aching for Love.

Let us say that Love, for tonight
would not be diminished
if we sourced the river of each other's dreams
and abandoned our troubles there
like a filthy treasure
that no one will ever find.

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Comments (1)

A fine poem on a familiar subject which makes it a greater achievement; and a beautiful rounding-off. Thanks.