Tap and Sigh Upon the Glass
You took a lot of trouble not to be
a cliché, clever names for your children,
a red door, no vans or station wagons,
just cars no one could define you by.
You didn’t line the walls with books or hang
your diplomas, no patches on the corduroy
jacket you never bought: no pipe, no bow tie,
no clever bumper stickers, no seer sucker suit.
It is an effort, finally, to turn
always the other way, to ever take
the road less, well, because you never can
just do something. Everything means something,
every gesture a text, every choice Eden or no.
Now everyone knows you, broken old man,
thrown out: it’s the same old story, they say,
like every other marriage down the drain,
like every famous opera, just no death,
no relief of death, of ending, no break
for commercial, just the limbo of empty rooms
in a cheap apartment, a block building
full of other empty men, holding warm beers,
looking past TVs, at crummy walls,
at water stained ceilings, in rooms too cold
for children, too cold for the telephone.
You walk across the asphalt parking lot
to the empty mailbox, too soon for mail,
too soon for the ache of empty, the long
road home a short walk now, the bottoms of your
feet black and burned now, barefoot man alone.
Editor’s Note: The title of this poem is almost a distraction from the razor sharp narrative that details one person’s fall from confidence into ironic failure.