Grey Afternoon

Will didn’t see anyone, but heard chattering from the windows he passed and the occasional yelp from a dog. It was a grey Saturday afternoon Will noticed; he also noticed that he didn’t go out at all during the rest of the month when it was sunny. He didn’t know why he was outside, walking along the street and trying to decipher the voices from windows; something compelled Will to do these things.

Will was walking toward the beach but realized he didn’t want to contend with the sand so he turned back down the street, passing more buildings. He felt silly, walking for no reason. Maybe he was in some sort of funk, but he wasn’t trying to clear his mind of anything—life was swell for the most part. Will was thirty-nine. He had a stable job. He had money to survive and time for himself. Will looked at the buildings. Will lived in a nice place. He was lucky.

Even though the buildings blocked the ocean the waves could still be heard. A calmness rolled into Will, but Will was already calm.

He returned home. Things were tidy. It didn’t take long for him to make and eat dinner. Will passed the time somehow and he eventually found himself in bed. Will lied there for an hour until a few thoughts wedged themselves between him and the possibility of sleep. They were terrible thoughts. Will tried to shove them away, but they only deepened. He tried to tire his eyes out by staring at the dark ceiling, hoping sleep would follow.

Trifecta: Week 112 

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Emil Bennett at the Beach

Tries to escape through summer’s haze,
but only recalls the room some years ago:
students speaking of Antigone and he
finally uttering a thought, but his thought
Is thought superfluous. A silence entering
Bennett. Bennett becoming that silence. 

Heads bob over waves, another couple
passes. Bennett on his bath towel,
burying his fingers in the sand,
legs pointing toward the sea.

But now he is there, watching
the muttering old man
with his metal detector.
The old man stops, his ugly
voice hushes, and bends
down to meet the Earth.
He wonders what is there. 

The folks at Poetry Circle really helped me out with this one. 

Within my Window

One of them still skips over
the road barely seeing
grime lining the gutter. 
Another throws a can
at a passerby. A group
of them shambles by,
some eyeing my clean
window. (They can’t see
my face.)

The children cry and laugh
in their march, through years
chosen by others–they lived
through centuries of hunger’s
panging.

But we’re allowed to finally go;
the driver takes us to the country
where we can fade within the lush
and ordinary.     

Inspired by Vidya Panicker’s 

View from the window of an air-conditioned car

Emil Bennett Learns Something About the World

The air shrinks, crowds thicken-over–
Emil Bennett is the ant under
the Earth’s palm.

All the bodies are pushing against him.
All the lights are tracking him.
Bennett’s lived here for many years
but now he walks faster home.

The pale man sees him waiting
to cross the street, trails him
but Bennett only moves faster,
just wants to see his room
again.

The pale man has gotten him.
How ’bout this heat? Bennett nods.
Taking the bus? Bennett looks
at the man’s greasy, white face.
Warm breathe. You know the benches
in the park, now they’ve got armrests
in the middle. It’s so the homeless
don’t sleep on them.
Emil Bennett
doesn’t say a thing.