Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love was published by Osedax Press, and his full-length collection, The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems, is available from Truth Serum Press.
By the time I arrive, my father’s already pacing.
Though I haven’t been in his house before,
I know it well–the layout, the architecture,
the smell of the rooms–of paste and paper-decay
where he once plastered the holes
with the Eagle and the Sun.
Still the foundation is rock, solid and stolid,
but some thing’s not quite right
in the parts no one wants to explore.
Strangers–experts, no less–have come
to address what’s out of kilter,
and what has gone so terribly wrong.
Their comforting talk makes little difference–
he’s ill-at-ease in everyone’s presence,
including my own, though I assure him
I’ll take care of everything;
he needn’t worry the way he does.
I carry the papers he’s signed
and try to show them to whoever I meet,
but no one will stop or listen.
All are measuring and patching and looking
with one eye closed, down the chair-rails
as if this is the only way to see.
They are so wound in their work,
more than I’ve ever been in mine,
and I wander up and down the stairs
looking for the place to make returns.
There is no room for that here and it is,
as always, such empty labor to look.
Wisdom alone–and our higher self–ought to say
these days are given to us,
not quite for free, but almost gifts,
and we ought to be, unto them, like worker-bees
charged only with avoiding the mediocrity
of sub-standard honey–under-pollinated and worse,
too much delay in what ought to be its joyful making.
What a waste, hours spent thinking:
just another swamp in this, the daily grind,
the sameness, the futility, the muck up to our knees.
And isn’t it time for tea, or better yet, Happy Hour,
so, we might get lost in the empty space
of the dusk or whatever we name the darkness
that seems, like the plague, bound to swallow us?