Monday, December 7, 2009


The couple in the corner booth stares off into space,
they exchange no words, speak to the server when spoken to.
She texts rudely under the table while he stares into his glass
sadly, visibly relieved when the food arrives.
Chewing is such a goddamn relief.

They are so cliché, if they only knew.
So forty-something and plain, so slightly overweight,
too rich to be happy, too childless to be fulfilled.

At the bar, the lonely blonde leans in, breasts grazing the counter,
she fingers her hair and nods her head, forgets what she's said yes to.
Forgets what her heart longed for when she was twenty-two,
forgets the dream of a husband and baby to hold, reaches out
and strokes the thigh of a man who will never love her,
never see her after her apartment tonight.

It's kind of pathetic, really. And a better woman, a righteous one,
walks by outside the window pushing her stroller and dragging
a toddler smothered in a babygap sweater. She forces a smile,
nervously begs her boy to behave and coos to a crying baby.
One day all the pressure will reveal tiny cracks around
the edges of her eyes. Her husband's fat paycheck won't stop them.

I go home, watch a movie, escape to fiction where fact plays out.
Sadly see myself in the actress' bit part.

The last thing I wanted was to be so stereo
But this is what I've become.
So don't come to my door
Cry foul or ask what for. Wait.

Wait and you'll see me carve myself out of this old plot line.
I'll be brilliant, I'll be the author, far better than the star.

I'm working on the screenplay, in fact.
(You're the bitch, and I'm the whore)
I'm busy! I'll say with a grin
to the buzz at the door.


  1. This is really two different poems smashed into one, and I'm sure it feels awkward to the reader as a result. Maybe someday I'll get around to editing it properly, or maybe it will divide again and become the two cells it was meant to be.

  2. It's lovely. I enjoy your voice. It's often hard and real, but that's life. Bittersweet.

  3. Thanks, Fran :) "Bittersweet" is my favorite word in the English language ("schadenfreude" is my favorite one in German, but that's an entirely different concept). Because life is neither good nor bad, but totally oxymoronic.

  4. Hi Kim:
    I've been thinking about this poem since last month, and reading it again today, my suggestion about revision is, if it were my poem, I would be inclined to cut the line "It's kind of pathetic really," a statement that is not necessary because the pathos is contained in the imagery, and start the next sentence with "A better woman. . . ." I'd also end the poem with "sadly see myself in the actress' bit part." This revision eliminates what I see as the unnecessary explanation that the speaker sees herself in the women she observes and criticizes. I like this poem very much.

    John G. Morris

  5. John,
    You are correct that the section after "actress' bit part" is unnecessary and it was from a separate poem and therefore feels very different from the early part of the poem.
    I disagree that this section explains that the speaker sees herself in all three. I think you saw that because you know me, and the casual reader does not.
    I always tend toward explaining things the reader should get from the images...thank you for your thoughtful critique. I will definitely revise...