Sitting down to feast on bread baked with aromatic spices
with a salad topped with vinegar and oil, a pasta perhaps
or lamb roasted to a crisp skin but a center so tender
it slides off as you pick up the bone, and the wine
oh the wine! it flows and the bottles come from nowhere
whites, reds, sweet and dry, there is enough for every taste,
the luxury overwhelms the senses and the heart.
You cry. You can’t help it. You cry and the tears just fall out
but not those fat drops which soak, but the glistening
streaming kind, and it’s only a few. A few to remind you
that you are alive. You are one of them.
And it is in this space, at this dinner table, tempted and satiated
that you recognize how alone you really are.
How alone you always feel. Even in good company.
I imagine there’s a time when all these longings depart
like a dinner guest, the kind that leaves a little early
without much fanfare, they don’t even say goodbye. The kind
where I ask, an hour later “where are they?” I suppose
our longings leave, disappearing, not in a moment, but in
an aching fade when we’re looking the other way,
always working on something so much more important.
Maybe they don’t leave.
Maybe they’re lost. Forgotten.
Left in the wilderness while I track down
the insufferable SOB who can’t handle playing his part,
wandering off on his own pipe dreams or because
he lacks a serious work ethic. And all the frustration
in my heart, my longing for reconnection, to get
that stupid lemming back from the cliff
so that I can get back to work and this errand
plays me the fool for here I am, still alone.
A feast prepared and I’m out looking for a damned fool.
I could say that’s my part; I signed up for this,
but the job description was all feast, it wasn’t
this kind of famine, a lonesome journey in the midst
of people, the walking through the mist of fruitless
conversations and abandoned dialogues. A wandering
past chatter about weather or cat videos toward
a real connection about our sense of loss and feeling lost.
A journey to that place where someone else,
just one other person, can admit that this shit is hard.
This giving a damn. This search and rescue work.
We’re taught to help them out of the pit,
but I’d rather be down there with them
to console myself! Because I don’t know the way out
but I know it’s easier to find it with someone else.
We focus on the pit, its despair, like an unsolvable
Rubik’s Cube of mind-distorting torture,
but its the sitting in the pit, with a friend
(it doesn’t matter how new)
staring at the lip, the contours of the face,
searching for the means of escape,
there pain departs and longings return
a lover those dreams are! and we speak
less and less of our suffering and
more and more of tomorrow,
when we’re free and all that work can wait
because we need to make time for a party.
A great big party, with food and wine
and everybody will be there. Everyone we know
will be there and we can be together.