Dave's Mental Meanderings
Poem - "Off Into the Night"
“Off Into the Night”
6/30/08 – 7/17/08
If the Tennessee River floods over tonight
Like the weatherman says that it will,
I predict this waterside tavern will stand
Until I pay off my bill.
I’ve been here all night as the storm settled in
Testing the bartender’s patience,
Washed up by the waves over freshly dug graves
On the rocks of my own limitations.
Through the thickening gloom and the smoke in the room
I’m giving women the eye,
I’m lonely as hell but I’m not coming on,
Just passing the time where it’s dry.
Hunched over my drink like a man on the brink
Of making the final decision,
I sit in the corner and count out my quarters,
A night’s worth of jukebox tuition.
As the crowd looks on I’ll belt out the songs
And feed the thing all damn night,
By the bartender’s frown I’m bringing them down
But to me that’s just about right.
I’ve a nagging suspicion the waitress is wishing
He’d kick me out in the cold,
Last time I checked my credit’s a wreck
But my cash is as good as gold.
He knows I’m harmless to all but myself,
At best I’m a minor liability,
I might break a glass or two as I pass
The limits of my own fragility.
There’s a note of fear among the onlookers here,
Their revelry interrupted,
They try to avert their gazes away
From the sight of brilliance corrupted.
But they can’t understand the dark sordid brand
Of comfort I feel in this place,
I’ve forgotten more than they’ll ever know
About purity, beauty, and grace.
Let them all stare as I spiral on down,
Besides I’ll be gone soon enough,
One last smoke and a sad ballad broken
By a timbre so gravelly and rough.
As the storm rages on my shadow is drawn
On the floor by the last call lights,
It’s time for the crooner in the corner to carry
His troubles off into the night.
The river runs high and hell pours from the sky
And for a moment the world stands still,
I don’t care if I die tonight
And there’s a pretty good chance I will.