A True Story

after bar time we were too tired to do anything else
so me and the other dishwasher, the cook, the 2 cocktail waitresses,
and the bartender, who we called papa because he was at least 35 years older than the rest of us, would go out in the back alley and have a beer and smoke cigarettes
before we went home for the night

papa would always tell us these wonderful and crazy stories and he began each one by saying “True story”, but most of them were obviously exaggerated, and probably only half true. But I wouldn’t call him a liar, he was more of a dreamer. And I think more than anything he wanted to believe, because those stories were all that he had left

anyways, it didn’t matter, because those stories
made us laugh
and they made us think,
and we all needed that before we went home and got ready
for another day

but one summer night, I was in a bad mood and I listened as he told his story
and I realized it was the same story that one of the guys was at the bar was telling him earlier in the night, and now Papa was telling it like it was his own. I called him out on it and he became quiet and just sat there with his sad eyes looking at me

the next night Papa didn’t have any stories for us, and we just sat in silence smoking our cigarettes while everyone else gave me dirty looks

i don’t blame them.


•   •   •



Maybe it was the unsaid thoughts
That kept us up late at nights

Looking back it seemed like
we just danced around our dreams
as I waited for the perfect moment
to lean in towards

but the perfect moment never came

And as the ashtrays filled
with wasted hours
we looked for wisdom
in words found
at the bottom of a bottle
and eventually we found ourselves
talking about anything
and everything
except for those nervous words
that could uncover our insecurities

and the longer we stayed up
the more we became strangers
to even ourselves
until we finally forgot
the feelings that fueled our fire

and our perfect moment
became nothing more
than a missing memory …

… it was always quiet
when the illusion wore off
just as the sun came up
to remind us that

there are no perfect moments

and if you never
take a chance to
face the beautiful awkwardness
that comes from an
uncovered heart

you will find
you have


but the sun always gave us
at least one more chance
on more chance to say the
things we dreamed of
one more chance to feel the fire
that we walked away from
one more chance to let
our eyes sing uncertain songs
to each other

one more chance
at life

before we say our goodbyes


•   •   •


Writer’s Block

the key to getting around it
is finding the right place to write

in your bedroom
never works

because the only poems
that are written there
are about love and loneliness
and we have heard those
a thousand times before and

coffee shops and
other public places
are really difficult
since strangers offer distractions
through subtle smiles
and nervous glances

every once in awhile
I would come up with a line
on my walk to work
but those words
lost their magic
when I finally got around
to writing them down

frustrated, I would
go to the rooftops
mostly late at night
just to imitate
the poets of old

but the night never spoke to me
of the secrets
that only silence can bring

instead I heard
drunk men howling like dogs
at the young girls walking by
and dogs screaming like sirens
as the ambulances chased death away
at least once every hour

but maybe these are the things
that should push the poets
to write


•   •   •


The misunderstood leaf

I once watched a leaf
Who wanted to be on her own
So she let go of her tree
Before most leaves had grown

At first she floated along
Callow and care-free
Until she finally settled down
Not too far from me

But why in early spring
Do you lie on the ground
This I asked the leaf
But she did not make a sound

Of course, I could correct
The green leaf's mistake
And I could save her
From the hand of a rake

I thought I knew best
And she did not understand
So I picked up the leaf
And held her in my hand

But to my surprise
The leaf began to turn black
And with a gentle whisper
She begged me to put her back

But before I could act
The wind whisked her away
Before I could tell her
That I wanted her to stay

I once watched a leaf
Who wanted to be on her own
But she was misunderstood
Because she did not feel alone