Dave's Mental Meanderings
Poem - "Safe Separation"
The low evening sun descends with the sound
Of a lonesome electric sigh,
The shimmering rays pierce grim alleyways
As they kiss the pavement goodbye.
The transient backlit windowpane glow
Reflects in the eeriest way
The otherworldly calm at the close
Of another anonymous day.
A blanket of fog is all that remains
Of the sultry afternoon air,
The oppressive heat withdraws like a sheet
To reveal the twilight so fair.
A breeze by the river sends up a shiver
To the neck of a young southern belle
Where her beau has kissed her, engrossed in the whispered
Sweet nothings that lovers do tell.
From this typical scene I can’t help but glean
A reminder of my present position
At the motionless side of the river’s swift tide,
A slave to this juxtaposition.
In a room full of gears I count off the years
And keep watch for approaching light,
Raising the bridge for the boats down below
As they silently glide out of sight.
My eyes often wander to listlessly ponder
Such earthly sights of the day,
Blind to my power with each passing hour
I wistfully while away.
Ordained acquisition of this curse of a mission,
There are many who’d kill for as much,
Above the concerns of the city and sea
Yet starving for one human touch.
A foghorn sounds from the darkness upstream
And I move without missing a beat,
Like a maritime tyrant I lift the steel giant
For the freighter to pass freely beneath.
On the weather-worn ship I notice a tip
Of the captain’s cap as he passes,
Carefully cutting a precarious course
Between walls of riverbank grasses.
He knows full well the weight of my work
For to him I’m second to God,
He shows his compassion in true sailors’ fashion
With this knowing nautical nod.
Though it’s safer up here and my purpose is clear,
I envy such starlight ramblers,
Tossing to chance each day like a dance,
These thick-skinned riverboat gamblers.
I think often the captain’s eyes are most apt
To speak of the loads that one carries,
From his bridge he watches the landscape unfold
Though the view from my own never changes.
At the mercy of whims of waters and winds,
Charging headlong into the fray,
Like a prostitute prizefighter, pawn to the peril
Into which he dives every day.
In rugged revival of simple survival
And blind to what brings the next bend,
Through the bright and the bleak he eternally seeks
The river’s unreachable end.
I sit second-guessing my dubious blessing
And the safe separation at hand,
Life’s pretty cheap on the water so deep
But I can’t ride the current on land.