Lunch in Shibuya (a poem)

Remembering an afternoon from 1987 or thereabouts…

I never did figure out who that actress was
You pointed her out during lunch
but I recognized neither the name nor the face
I have no memory of it now
I may have seen her later on TV
If I did, I don’t remember

I remember the water tasted funny in the glass
and there wasn’t even any ice in it to crunch
to fill in the moments of the quiet space
the wait for our food allowed
Back then, awkward silences made me uneasy
because they revealed the tension

Later, alone in the train, and then the bus
I tried to figure out why my initial hunch
turned out so differently when we were face to face
All I knew was I couldn’t get around
all that effort to make things easy
it did nothing to cut the tension

Whatever I was hoping it was
it was never going to be more than that lunch
I couldn’t open up, in any case
I was afraid to make a sound
for fear of inadvertently erasing
the best of my good intentions

I still don’t know who that actress was
I could have seen her a bunch
among the crowd-scene faces
that have faded into the crowd by now
appearing only long enough to tease me
into thinking I might remember

(11 June 2016)