I thought I was Li Po,
had moonwine midnight
but my Mandarin was a nightmare
and all the trolleys stopped
at Harvard Sq. when it was still called
Peking, a long walk
down a dark hall, the door to out.
Oh, there was Jesse Colin
Young in the Fenway across
from the Gardner with its lost Rembrandt.
At the movies with Lara and Omar,
A Man and A Woman,
Juliet of the Spirits.
Is it any wonder then the grape jam
and Jif, the nasty PCP, horrific
spider plants, piano dances,
Mozart and endless drum solos.
You were gone in a flash, a screech of empty space.
Maybe a god hears the collisions, collusions
spontaneous combustions on the shy
trolley that speeds slow over the black
Charles living below.
That strap to hold on to,
the flat place to stand.
Everything looked obvious, solid
square like a windowpane, the street
outside melting like a Dali, this chair
from which there is no falling,
in the thinnest slit of morning.
Before ink, blood,
before blood, water, ochre
stick figures with spears
saying I love you in stone.
You were always somewhere.
I don’t know? Chicago?
Between us the wet
spot where I drew concentric
on your unrecognizable
abstract, Cubist, small, fantastic.
Michael Crowley is a retired English teacher living with his wife and cat in Cranston, RI. His poems contain bits of twisted nostalgia for his past, using scattered reflections, half-finished expressions, allusions to pop culture, partly developed images and enough odd humor to avoid sentimentality.