Sunday, August 17, 2008

A poem about a woman I really need to stop writing poems about.

AFTER WORDS

I was in a nightclub
chatting with the drummer
while the band took a break,
when someone pushed
a jukebox button.
A sax riff swirled,
exquisite and haunting
as fog in an open field.
The piano rumbled ominous
as mallets bounced
like acorns off a tightened tom
into a bassline deep
and dark as an open well.
When the tune ended,
I walked over
to learn its name.
"Alabama" by John Coltrane
read the label.
I stood stunned
in a corner of the club,
knowing this song
was the most sad
and beautiful thing
I'd ever know.

Last night you paused
in a doorway,
hair furiously spilling
over an exposed shoulder,
lips freshly glossed
and fraught into a frown.
You asked if I had
any last thing to say
before you turned . . .
forever.
I thought of our first kiss,
your tongue frantic
as the outstretched hand
of a drowning woman.
Recalled you whispering
"You can take me, however you wish,
but never have me."

I looked silently into those eyes,
sadder than the surface of a dammed river,
beauty frozen like a willow in winter.
I come here now
thinking of "Alabama,"
to speak three words
I thought I’d never say:

I was wrong.
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