Copies of this book are available for $5 for shipping and handling from Kevin Burgess at kevin@bls-surveys.com

 

The Queen City

Lent came and went.

But the mood

In the city

Had not changed.

The river high and muddy.

The current never so swift.

The tugs strained mightily

To make headway

Against the current.

The quarter mile long coal barges

In Front.

The sturdy diesel engines

Of the tugs

The only thing

Keeping the barges

From washing

Wildly downstream.

 

I ducked into a tavern

Down by the viaduct

And pushed the rainwater

Back through my hair

And down to the

Nape of my neck.

I sat at the bar

And listened to

A young lady.

A waitress.

Mary.

And why not Mary.

Tell an older patron

About the new tattoo

Over her breast.

A Rose.

And why not a rose.

 

In the afternoon

I bundled my coat around me

And walked out into the rain.

Down Ludlow Avenue

To a music store

And bought strings for my guitar.

 

I followed dusk back

To the hotel.

Climbed the stairs

To my room

Opened the door.

And remembered

It was my 25th birthday.

 

Lent came and went

But the mood

In the Queen City

Had not changed.

 

The Woman in the Navy Blue Dress

The train station

Lies in the bottom

Along the river

And away from the town

Built into the hillside.

A soft rain falls

Around the station

As the day shifts

From Black to grey.

 

A couple stand

On the wooden planks

Of the platform.

The woman in a Navy Blue Dress.

Her blonde hair tucked into a bun.

The couple lingered in bed

And there was no time for beauty.

On this morning.

The man stands in

Workman’s clothes.

A black fedora tilted

Back on his head.

 

The dampness and human passage

Give the station

A dank musty smell

Of 1940.

But it is 60 years later.

Pillared columns and

Ornate woodwork

Date the station

To the era of the couple’s

Parents youth.

 

The whistle

Announces the arrival

Of the Northbound

And the couple enjoy

A last embrace.

 

The woman boards the train.

The man reaches

Into his pocket

And feels the woman’s eyeglasses.

He hands the glasses

To the conductor.

Asks him to deliver them

To the lovely blonde

That just boarded.

The conductor does not need a name.

He has seen her.

 

The man leans against

A column

And smiles wanly

As the woman passes by

In the window of the train.

It is the last time they

Will see each other.

 

© Kevin Burgess