Monday, June 4, 2007

Edmund the Confessor

The pay phone is broken.
The night manager reads the horoscopes
     from the day before—
does he ever think,
     “These aren’t for today.
          They were yesterdays”?
I don’t know,
and I don’t know if the pay phone
     has succumbed
     to heart break, existential pain,
          abuse, being used,
       or if it's waiting for an assignation.
I hear a woman, at the phone next to mine, say,
          “I’m here now”—
but I’m not,
          I don’t know where I am.
     My ink has already stained the bed spread.
     The ink bleeds now
          in the phone book.

I think Edmund the Confessor
will be waiting for me in hell.

The woman next to me gets up—
          I think she’s disappointed.
     I want to offer her a cigarette,
but more than that
I want to use the phone.
What am I doing here, I think,
     because I know this shouldn’t matter,
yet it does
and I don’t know why
I just move on.

A king, I remember, must always be a king.
A lover, once consigned to the role,
     must be a lover,
even if it's wrong.