I’m sitting at a table in the alley
awkwardly talking to strangers
about all these poems I have written
young people, old people
smiling, staring, looking down, fidgeting
carrying purses and umbrellas
people with horribly boring stories
about their lives
I am sitting at a table alone, as usual
while all the other authors
have a tablemate
it wasn’t supposed to be this way,
of course
I guess my partner
had other things to do
the woman across from me
has 5 day jobs,
although I hardly see how that is possible
she is very talkative
which ruffles me for some reason
but she reminds me of an ex-girlfriend
from many years ago,
the various facial features
how she is dressed in secondhand clothes
I do not want to talk to these people
I do not want to talk to her
I just like the way she reminds me
of a time I didn’t mind talking to people
there is one
who has written a novel
about unicorns
and one
who looks like
she might be more comfortable
on a beach in the Hamptons
rather than a fold-up chair in the alley
there are little sandwiches
of cucumbers and cheese
my pinkie rises to attention
as I take the first bite
the girl who I think reminds me of another girl
is eating the cucumber and cheese sandwiches like a starved mouse
they disappear in a blink,
like my hopes of finding a fuck to give
my tablemate
has finally made his appearance
he is wearing a shirt plastered
with flamingos
and he has thick legs,
unnaturally thick, like tree trunks
have you ever seen a man
who walks on tree trunks?
still not the strangest thing I have seen
in a lifetime
the woman who belongs
in the Hamptons
sits reading her own book
and I can’t imagine
reading my own work
after it has left my head
one table down is the poet laureate
of Parma Ohio
the man with the flamingo shirt suggests
I speak with the mayor of my own city
to see if there is interest
I politely say,
“Yes, I should check into it.”
but I don’t tell him
I have no intention of checking into it
I don’t want the responsibility,
the responsibility of such events
that might involve
wearing a ten-year-old tie
hanging defeated in the back
of my closet
the same tie that has been
in the same knot for as long
because sometimes I forget
how to tie a tie
I don’t want the title that comes
with the responsibility either
we have become a society of titles
when we used to be human beings
we, those of us sitting
on fold-up chairs in the alley,
are the writers of the world
we belong to our own special group
we are not the same

Image Credit:Sinan Helfenstein

Ken Tomaro is a writer living in Cleveland Ohio whose work reflects everyday life with depression. His poetry has appeared in several online and print journals and explores the common themes we all experience in life. Sometimes blunt, often dark but always grounded in reality.

He has 4 full-length collections of poetry: Home Is Where the Headstones Are, An Angry Year, Paralysis & Potholes and Perogies (through Alien Buddha Press) available on Amazon.