Charles Newman

an album of faded pictures
laying on an empty bed
on one side of a dusty room
nobody rents
even though the rates are god-awful good

I give up
[not that I invested much in this to begin with]

today passes like yesterday
hollow words
empty promises
donuts in a box on the radiator
and an album of faded pictures
remains unopened
[keepsakes left behind]

sepia suits you
delicate lace and silk stockings and
mauve suits with shoulder pads
style is your substance sweetheart
don’t fight it

pungent perfumes remind me of you
heart stopping poses no one else can emulate
[you really set the hook didn’t you?]

so I am in this god-forsaken place
reaching for grasping at a little peace
sidestepping shadows [very fred astaire]
doing nothing I can undo

underneath it all:

[somewhere someone I don’t know
takes notes]

underneath the desire: fear

[everyone here knows this is true]

underneath the fear:

or hunger

like the pictures in the album
evaporating in the summer heat
wrenched from me in absentia
sympathy proves insufficient

everyone who checks in stays

some never check in

regardless: everyone ends up here sooner or later

my memory justifies nothing
taking the easy way out

arguments bury evidence
to no advantage

secrets are revealed on cue

no one here escapes
devastation depression devotion

grandiose stories
told over and over in the bar
even though none of us believes them

[so what if
nobody cares?]

so what if nobody knows better?

my album sits on my bed
forgetting nothing remembering all

supposing any of this is real

so what if it’s all just another bad dream?
do you care? [did you ever?]

like love: this is never over

mea culpa sweet thing
reneging on history
gets you nowhere
except here