Perry S. Nicholas
I am an Associate Professor of English at Erie Community College North in Buffalo, N.Y. I have 5 books, 2 chapbooks, and 1 CD of poetry. I am married to Maria Sebastian, a well-known singer/songwriter, and we perform our poetry and music together at many venues in the WNY area. For more information please visit my website: www.perrynicholas.com
Down Nameless Row
I move in exaggerated steps
down a shadowy street with no sign,
one of those red cobblestones
making us wish on the stars
we had worn softer shoes.
A motion light confirms my passing
while I run the progress (if we can
call it that) of our conversations
through my head under a black, felt hat.
Convinced I’m on a true track here.
It’s my right, time to follow my breath
past the houses with blue, buzzing TVs.
My right to squint at apostrophe errors
in the family names on mailboxes.
I only know it’s January, and Orion is north.
Holed up in this darkened hotel room,
a morning haze of thirty years
moves across me. I can’t focus
on much but the scratch of my pencil,
inscribed notepaper before me on the desk,
and the gravel-filled voice of Cohen:
I don’t smoke no cigarette,
I don’t drink no alcohol.
Too broad a span of time
until I heard Leonard sing in person,
so long since I allowed myself
a leap into any spotlight.
I steal a look over at the bed,
glimpse the tattoo on your soft shoulder,
resist the temptation to break this line,
shuffle over, trace its outline with kisses.
So as not to risk waking you,
I’ll leave these words by the bed,
shadowed like the frozen figures
we left outside Lennox Lounge
before quietly escaping
into the Eighth Avenue subway,
ignoring the crazies, searching for coffee.
Elongated symbols of our promises.
We married in New York City, sweet,
and I vowed to leave these sad souvenirs behind.
I know too much about yours, you too little of mine.
Dormant Bibles, unholy sheets, plastic blinds.
One more lingering lyric to sign off this hushed note:
Touch me with your naked hand
Touch me with your glove.
And dance me, to the end of love.
©2016 Perry S. Nicholas
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to tell him or her. You might say what it is about the poem that moves you. Writing to the author is the beginning of community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -FF