Couldn't sleep – 4 AM may be
Too early for coffee, but
The corner diner's open
At all hours, so I head
That way. Dickens, Green Mansions,
Shakespeare, bleak Russians – shadows
Can watch them for a while…
The night air's warm—a slow block
Of rain-sloshed concrete later
And I've made it. – Get dark roast
Pick a table not too close
To the counter, then sit back.
Watch life eddy around you...
Whoever sat here last must
Have dropped the tract—Jesus Saves.
We're story-weaving creatures.
This tale? It's nine-tenths thunder—
Granite certainty. Can't see
Much past my face. But who knows?
That might just change as sweet beans
Work their magic. Consciousness
Slowly stirs—I look around
At early birds who've lit here…
Thin man (business suit, blue tie),
Seems harried. Near one entrance
A trash-bag clad moustached guy
Growls at home-fries and the wet.
This is the dream we're living—
Lost in hurry, souls flutter
Like paper-scraps, that blow past
In a gust, or crumple up,
And settle, slight grey-black lumps,
On sidewalks washed by rainbows.
Thought: each heart here close-cradled
A story through this weather, down
'Till (pre-dawn) now – As for mine:
I couldn't sleep for thinking:
Your plane'll land in less than
Twenty-four (twenty-four!) hours.
Yesterday was Valentine's.
We missed it, but that's okay
(There's something good in "humdrum.")
Yet the "everydays" I love—
Eating a muffin, taking
Slow walks, watching a rabbit
Hop from bush to bush—these
Brighten, minute for minute,
When you share in them—mostly,
I'm not in the prayer business
(Unseen realities just
Confuse me), but you're coming
Home, and for that I murmur
Quiet thanks to the pigeons
Strutting the walk, to trees, to
Bits of cloud, to whatever rolls
This way as an audience.
"She's almost here." Several keen
Pairs of beady eyes survey
The Oddity—Soon enough
Though, their owners "cu-ru!"
And waddle (content) elsewhere,
Perhaps to check out a glint
Center-street, or forage good greens.
Last sip – and my coffee's done;
Guess it's Daily Grind O'Clock…
Cup chucked, time to scurry back
To the apartment, and drape
Myself in neon orange (first
Job today: direct traffic).
Jogging, I wonder – for all
My daystart shop companions,
Thin businessman, homeless guy,
Cabdriver, writer, student:
What songs do they hold inside?
What are their hopes for this day?
Stuck so much on wanting
You with me for a two-soul
Celebration of life's glories
I've lost most of the details
From this morning; what's still clear
Falls through mind-warmth and settles…
Little things—pained eyes, a face
Bulging with years as hills
Do from the earth—hold steady
In reflection: solidities,
Not right, not to be lessened—
Yet, strong in their crying out,
They seem as I review them,
—Full agonies—to rise cleansed,
Baptized by your half-smile.
No perfect harmony keeps
Watch while rain-clouds break, leaden,
Over mortal heads (my guess)—
Yet a feather can shift the wind
Toward joy—dear 4 AM strangers,
May your share of work and worry
Find your brain-ways plainspoken,
Tough, yet aired out by the glow
Of common graces— sunrise,
Dun sparrows scolding, small cars
Just zipping past marked crosswalks,
Clear skies, and (hearts tumble) love.
May you all prosper! Watch for
Me—scruffy, guarding the road—
I'll be "that man" in the orange vest
With pointers orienting
Now toward the street, now heaven,
Like spring lilies in their glee.