Tiny Moments of Useless Beauty
(for Anise)

You ask
what if loving
and being loved
is not enough

what if the ugliness
of each day

all else

and what is to be done
with the understanding

that not much will happen
from now
until the day we die

you ask
why not
go now
rather than wait

and I don't have much to offer
in the way of hope
or belief

I don't know how
we make it through these days
or why

and in life's defense

I can only offer up
tiny moments
of useless beauty

the sun
the rain

pretty girls in the subway

a decent poem
a good sandwich

a joke well told
honest laughter

and wine

our fingers touching
the act of creation

the cat asleep on the bed

none of this is
much perhaps

and I don't know what to do
with the heavy sadness
and the hungry void

I only know that
sometimes it is nice
to be here

and I imagine
I will miss us

when we are gone.

An Arrangement

She said, I'm not looking
for love, just a place
to hide.

I said, stick around
for one more drink,

my heart is
empty enough
for the both of us.

And Every Eye Without Light

More often than not
I can offer no excuse
for my existence

sitting empty outside a Polk Street cafe
and the only decision to be made

is between caffeine
and alcohol

I look around

and all the faces on the street
and in the cars and the buses
and the windows of buildings
make me sad for everything

hipster kids on bikes
with cruel mouths and perfect hair

old women with small ugly dogs
and parchment skin that smells
of death and bitterness

and every eye without light

I imagine myself
no different from the rest of them

milling about
in dull confusion

dreaming of nothing
other than this

but without
the grace.

William Taylor Jr. was born in Bakersfield, California
and currently lives in San Francisco with his wife and
a cat named Trouble. His poetry and stories have appeared
widely in the small press and on the internet. He is the
author of numerous chapbooks and his work has been nominated
for a Pushcart Prize. His latest book is So Much Is Burning
published by sunnyoutside Press. A book of his collected
poems is forthcoming from Centennial Press. He will one
day be the last man in America not to own a cell phone.

2007 Underground Voices