Poetry Drawer: Faces I’d Rather Stay Unfamiliar: This Idiot and a Half: 5:35 am by Rp Verlaine

Faces I’d Rather Stay Unfamiliar

Pass me on streets disturbed,
anguished, or sunk
in unpayable debts of
yesterdays or tomorrow’s
that begin with light
and end with dark
voids lacking the velvet
softness of dreams
of the unfamiliar
shadings of hope.

But today I see
a man on a mild
and pleasant day
wearing several sweaters,
shirts, and pants.

His smile so genuine
I wanted to buy him
a suitcase.

Two corner boys higher
than a trapeze artist
decide to play him for sport,
shouting: hey old timer
what you gonna do
when it gets cold?

With the friendliest
of smiles, he stops
thinks, then answers
I’ll put on some more clothes.

This Idiot and a Half

Almost caught me stepping 
out of my apartment
building in the middle
of the day on some kind
of motorized scooter
on the goddamned sidewalk.
You asshole! I yelled
He looked back, but kept on
going down the block
into the street and gone.

Had his bike hit me
I would have been in
the hospital with something broken
maybe more than one thing.

Some men dream of blondes built
like starlets, yet delicate
as a baby’s breath.

Others dream of enough gold
to remake the entire world
with their name everywhere.

Or they want to be president,
but really mean dictator.

Me, I’ve simple tastes
I’d like to catch one of these
motorbike idiots
speeding on sidewalks
and stiff arm them into tomorrow
with their bodies going one way
and their bikes another.

Then just leave them there
opened mouthed and confused.
Not a lot to ask for,
but failing that I’ll take the blonde
and a few gold ducats.

5:35 am

Daylight is an hour away,
so I finish the last
of five poems,
go to the kitchen and find
sausage and eggs,
then check the mail
and discover none.
It’s now 5:47 am, still dark.
I seldom drink coffee before 6.
I read the poems and wait.
It’s the exciting life
of a poet in New York city.

Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in New York City, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales, Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018), and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020).

You can find more of Rp’s work here on Ink Pantry.

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