star e. rose

Close-Up Photo of Wet Sidewalk
karl solono

I meet with the young priest after Mass.
He is black, shaves his head, lifts weights;
his pinkies could splinter every weedy
wine-stained curb along NE Alberta. Outside,

over peppermint tea and the fifty-degree winds
battering a JUST SAY NO banner, he frets
over modern cinema’s excess-culture
of nudity and futility and creative blasphemy.“
Have you ever seen Last Year at Marienbad?”

I shake my head. The wind absorbs
the receding slivers of tea-steam. I used to love
this weather.

The dab of lavender I’ve smeared into my scarf
does nothing for my nerves. I am mash-lipped,
jittering in rhythm to the flapping flag overhead. I am sick
of myself. I am an alien from the thirteenth circle
of hell. This is no better or worse than loneliness.

I might suggest
that swearing is a rather ambitious art-form. Or:
I’m considering suicide, maybe a pilgrimage to Ireland.
I’m still afraid of hell. I’m handsome for the first three days
after a haircut. Lately I’ve been waking up
beside a Jewish financial analyst
twice my age. What do
strangers see inside my eyes?

You have no idea, no idea.  I hear the bus sputter
out of the foggy wasteland beyond my back.
I wasn’t always a coward.

(Note: This is one of my favorites, and since it wasn’t doing anything I decided to fling it like spaghetti at this blog to see if it sticks lovingly keep it alive by including it in this blog. I wrote this about twenty years ago; Star E. Rose is a coffeehouse I used to frequent in Portland, Oregon.)

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