Nothing Doing

I can see from the tall window
up here, people creeping by.
Dark images moving softly through the night.

A little pinkish neon light dribbles
onto the wet streets.

The silhouette of lovers under an umbrella.
I pull the blinds on them...

Pace the semi-darkness of my room,
as Mussorgsky's Pictures plays

the tempo quickens
into thick moments of fiery dream and I fall
down in my chair,
slump over

read the notes
left there: "the world revolves around a beautiful
no one even knows..."

"my mind is full of bloody chicken

Nothing doing.

I get up again and walk to the curtains,
open them.

The streets are now dark and empty, but there's a billboard
standing out against the buildings
lit up by eight little lights.

BANKRUPTCY? it says.

And below,
the attorney's face. The big fleshy neck and jowls
choked by a stiff
pink collar, and he's almost smiling

but not quite.

The brow is lowered, cheeks lifting and strained
as if he's constipated.

Probably a brutal s.o.b.
if you ever took the spoon out of his mouth.

But it's obvious -
tonight, his finest art
won't come.

And neither will mine.


Two a.m., and we’re flying over the Rockies
when the old man across the aisle turns
on his overhead light. It brightens softly
his tired profile and the crisp cuffs
of his starched shirt. He takes a pen
from his coatpocket, places a yellow notebook
on his tray table and hunches over it,
writes something
down. I can barely read the word: “SALES.”
And a little under that: “CAN I
DO IT?” 30,000 feet above rock
and gorge, the small ghost towns of nowhere.
30,000 feet in a plane of sleeping
people, coughing, people snoring and an old man
under his overhead light, his gray hands
trembling, his leather shoes with little brown tassels
on them, shoes of an older
generation, shoes of a man asking for rebirth:
“CAN I DO IT?” The plane lurches.
He looks up.
A sign? The light dances off his toes.

M.P. Powers lives in Miami. He has been published in The New York Quarterly, Rosebud, Slipstream, Main Street Rag, Milk Poetry Magazine and many others. More info here: http://www.nyqpoets.net/poet/mppowers

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