Poem: A Willingness to Wait


A Willingness to Wait

You were always the quiet one in the bar,
the corner sitter, the watcher,
never drinking much, nursing that single bourbon
for hours, soaking in the strange life
of a world that slowly lost itself
in amber liquids and dreams.

Only once or twice did you get caught up
in the fights that spring up in such places,
in those small holes in the wall that every town has,
and those passed quickly,
your soberness a perfect foil for the size of your antagonists.
Things always settled down afterward
and you were always allowed to disappear back into your corner,
a piece of wallpaper with melted ice in his glass.

This is how you live, more a watcher than you would like,
trained in a household of bourbon and anger
that appeared like a summer storm, sudden and wild
before coming undone.

Watching was safety.

Not that it has served you well.
Too often, you miss the coming storm.
You may as well be drunk, you tell yourself,
for all the things you have missed in your life
before they took their first swing at your unprepared belly.

Still, you watch, a pretense of wisdom,
when in fact, it is more about the lack of it,
but a willingness to wait for sight
as the thunder rumbles in the next room.

About this poem

I just felt like writing a second poem this morning and had the time. I picked the picture (An inn in Albany, NY that I passed years ago.), and wrote to it. This is what came out.

I’ll psychoanalyze it later.


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