Postcard From a Day That Didn't Try Very Hard

I step out into the butt-end of the day
in search of something
that might ease the sadness just a bit.

It is late afternoon
and the neighborhood feels
particularly mean,

another day having broken
its promise.

Through the windows of restaurants
and bars the eyes
turn down and then away,

the laughter forced
and haunted

as the sun gives up,
disappearing down the dirty alley

behind the market
where I stop for
something to drink.

And on the corner
a sad hooker cries
for someone named Sal.

Sal, she cries,
again and again,

but Sal is not around
or he refuses to answer

and her howl is mournful,
like some abandoned animal
lost in darkness.

I return to my apartment,
pour myself a drink

and outside she still cries
for Sal.

I walk over and close the window,

trapping the sorrow outside
and in.


The man on the corner
asks for money,
tells me he's just trying
to get out of the trouble he's in.

I suppose the same could be said
for most of us,
and often life
amounts to little more

than working our way
out of one trouble
or another.

But the thing is, trouble never leaves,
only changes form
and I imagine it will follow us
to the grave
and beyond.

I give the man a dollar
and keep one for myself

then continue on
and away from

The Famous Cafe

The old poet sits
at his table in the famous cafe.

I understand
that some 50 years ago
the place was really

I've heard stories,
read books and seen pictures
of mad poets filling the place
and plying their trade,

standing on tabletops shouting out
their wretched lives
to the applause of the crowd.

It really must've been a scene.

But today it's an average
Wednesday afternoon.

The place is filled with tourists
and students and laptops
and they won't let you take your wine

The old poet is there
at his usual table.

He sits alone, reads a paper
and sips from a glass of wine.

From time to time he yawns.

I do not know if he still writes poetry
but he does have a nice hat.

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.
His book of collected poems, Words for Songs never
is available at Centennial Press.
He will one day
be the last man in America not to own a cell phone.

2008 Underground Voices