Another One Lost on the Road
It started out in the college town where she
had just graduated and I continued to try —
to graduate and to write. And I succeeded
miserably at tending bar. I followed her
on weekends to Scarsdale where she
was sometimes warm and sex
was hot but gradually over distance
she proved herself to be as beautiful
but cold as the winters there. I lost her
not to another man, at least I don’t think so,
but to that small thing known as distance
and a larger amount of the same thing
called indifference that I should have
picked up in her attitude in the first place.
But some fool who spends his days
bartending so he can write poems
and drives all night to see his woman
on the weekends, hell everybody looks indifferent.
I don’t think I have learned to this day,
because as I write this, I know for a fact
that today I would do the same damn thing.
I am a fool and a poet and I walk proud.
I hope she’s doing well too. Actually,
I really don’t care, and I’m sure
she can say the same about that.
As I Make Coffee for Her this Evening
Trust me, I hope this God who measures me
by the scoops of coffee I place in the coffeepot
does not measure me by the drinks I take
while I assemble this for the coming morning.
I hum the old country song that goes
“The lord knows I’m drinkin’
and drinkin’s a sin,” even though I wonder
if it really is, probably is if you do it too much
although singing as badly as I do is probably
more of a sin than any amount of drinking.
Anyway, I’m done with making the coffee
but I pour myself another brandy, still sober
enough to put it into the snifter and not
the coffeepot. I figure that counts for something.
See there, God? I might be sober enough tonight
to remember to say my prayers, something
I haven’t done since the one I’m making coffee for
left me and I asked you to bring her back. She’s
in the next room sleeping now, so we must be doing
something right. I don’t know if you’re a drinker
but let’s toast or you can call it my prayer tonight:
Here’s to keeping her with me and let’s start
with a good cup of coffee in the morning
and I’ll promise you this will be my last brandy tonight.
Libran, Late Night, Wine and the Deluge
A cognac priced at twice at what I usually afford.
But it’s my birthday. And I carry the grape-distilled
filled snifter onto the porch for a moment
to smell the mushrooms, laundry, earth
and the delicious wet dog odors
of rain, pouring sloppily and inexactly
into this poem, and the scents swirling around my head
bring remembrance of what I love about the inexact sciences
of poetry, wine and cognac.
Harry Calhoun has received several Pushcart and Sundress Best of the Net nominations and publications in hundreds of poetry journals and many books and chapbooks. Notable among them: the chapbook Failure is Unimportant, which came out in on Flutter Press in 2013, and his Maintenance and Death from England’s Pig Ear Press in 2012. A full-length poetry book, Alarmed in Space and other poems, has been accepted by Unbound Content for release in early 2015. Harry lives in Raleigh, North Carolina with his wife Trina and his Labrador mixes Hamlet and Harriet.