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Concrete Doesn't Burn
There's no reason for
the wind to hide behind
secret curtains and glass
reflecting false images
on a hollow wall.
We're blasted by the unbiased truth.
My hands look like my fathers
my legs feel like stone.
Weather hangs like smoke on a ceiling
over the window-framed garden.
Before the night turns in her poison
play a mortal melody,
a swan song for the ages,
a slow, driving blues
about a west-Texas highway
and the dimmest regions of hope.
You said concrete doesn't burn,
but I can smell the rain, so play
a mortal melody before my
concrete face is washed away.
Robert Allan's Mid-life Blues
I thought it'd be more dramatic. Although
the closest I've ever been is a TV screen.
But even funerals have a choir,
or a bad Christian-rock band.
All I hear are sounds from the street.
No, it's been more routine.
Like getting up to brush my teeth or
out-running the sprinkler to my car.
Fluoride and wet grass are more lenient, though.
At least the smell of fall is sentimentally enhanced.
The unwavering cry of cicadas reminds me
of a ten-year old, future NFL star, but that's a
shell that crumbled on a dead leaf last spring.
I swore I saw it on the window panes.
I dusted it off like a bad fall in a long dream.
I forgot it this morning.
My eyes will have to wait, if it'll ever happen anyway,
until the leaves are blown from my street
and the days are long again.
Then I'll see if I'll ever break from my routine.
Every evening as lamp posts start
singing in minor keys
and the sun starts gargling green-tea,
my neighbor sits on his front porch
alone, playing one-handed sol and
smoking to classical music.
He's an old, bald asian man;
black socks and khaki shorts.
He's never uttered a word to me.
Sometimes I wonder if I should go
talk to him, or set a deck of cards
so that he'd win for once, but I don't.
I think he's aware of the odds.
I think he's aware of the solitude.
And I think he prefers it that way.
**Copyright 2008 Joe Miller, all rights reserved
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