Thursday afternoon impressions (a poem)

Yesterday’s lunch soundtrack at Applebee’s was the music of the 80s and 90s.

In restaurants and grocery stores
it’s always 20 or 30 years ago

My age bracket is all about nostalgia
because we can’t leave anything alone

This song and the beer I didn’t have to hunt for
have me thinking of you
I do this from time to time
though I no longer miss you
the way I used to

Every one of those days
recedes farther and farther away

How many of them can I remember?

The music from the speakers overhead
drowns out the rest with a swell of guitars
pushing walls of sound farther inland

My obsession with nostalgia
leaves insufficient space
until nostalgia crumbles with the rest
and 20 and 30 become 40 and 50
leaving General Cinema, Red Vines, and Dr. Pepper
tingling upon my tongue

By the time I leave
I’ve forgotten even that much

A beer with lunch is my reward
for the good deed I did today
and for opening up to random thoughts
otherwise starving for attention
and to some that shouldn’t bother

There are no secrets here
only the rejected and the neglected
neighbors of wishes gone nowhere
all with an uneasy view
of wishes that came true
despite the odds

I’ve known people
with secrets of their own—
sometimes they wanted me to know
sometimes they’d never tell

Most secrets come out somehow
but we haven’t learned to translate
so we get no more than a vague sense—
and then only once in a while

We never know the torture of those souls

(3/4 October 2019)



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