He searched the floor of his life for more words,
but there were none.
In his day, he waxed quite elegant, his inimitable style admired
by all who attended the readings full of smells of coffee, sweat,
and too much perfume in close quarters.
The applause, while not thunderous, was engaged.
The conversations, while not stimulating, were polite.
“I liked that poem.”
“I don’t know. I just did.”
“Thank you.” Sips coffee to indicate
the conversation’s over.
The microphone was no longer a beacon, but a flickering ghost light
in a dark theater.
The notebook paper and computer screens were all test patterns; nothing to see.
Nothing in them. Nothing on them.
My life isn’t over, but it seems to have run dry.
Was there really nothing left to say? Nothing that moved him? Touched his heart? Enraged him? Set him laughing hysterically?
Desperately, he mined for it, memories in black, oily sludge best left buried slipping in stringy fragments through his finger.
Feelings unrequited. Longings unfulfilled.
And now, the words have flown as well.
No feathers to fly, unfettered, they flee.
The skin dries as the words evaporate,
and the poet is now a husk of man.
Desiccated and empty, seeming all of a man, but containing nothing of him.
The pen slips from his fingers; the battery in the digital thing no longer holds a charge.
Change is forthcoming, but he will stand and remain, no regrets.
The memories are old, unrelenting, full of sharp rebuke.
He rises from kneeling in the sludge of his art,
As his husk dries slowly in the morning sun,
as the poet’s soul slips free.