Four Poems by William Taylor Jr.

To Let Others Walk the World

I was born into the winter months
with a weak heart and frightened eyes

I met the big nothing early on
took it inside and became immune

I never bothered with the future
because the moment in hand
was always burning

abandoning dreams of justice
to sit beneath the sky
and watch things fall apart
in their fashion

to let others walk the world
as if they had some place in it

myself content with dreams
of little rooms with little windows
looking out upon the rain

sad music and wine

afternoons spent
in libraries and bars
with the drunks
and unemployed poets

all of us hungry for some quiet place
to escape the indifferent sun.

Even in This

I write poems for all the little things
that might otherwise be lost,

convincing myself I am somehow doing good
in keeping things alive a bit longer
than their natural span.

But maybe all the sad
and pretty moments
have no desire to live
beyond their tiny flash,

and I craft my words
only to try and make myself
feel somehow less alone,
selfish even in this.

The Dead Horse of Our Love (a poem in two voices)

The beauty of you was unexpected,
an accident, surely meant
for someone else

but for the strangest of moments
it was mine.

It wasn’t much, just a thing that happened.

I’ve never known
how to let go of anything,

I hoard every shard of every
perfect thing I’ve ever broken.

Dude, be a man about it.

The memory of laughter in sad hotels,

a photograph that proves
we shared the same space,

It’s over, bury it, let it go.

how you once imagined me beautiful
and the desperate way you loved,

I was mistaken.

I will carry it all
in the junkbox of my soul
for the rest of my days

Weak as fuhhhk.

and on nights when the joy
and the rage and the sorrow of everything
rises up within me like an impossible wave

I will think of you and sing.

Whatever.

If There Must

If there must be an afterlife let mine
be a little bar in San Francisco
somewhere near the ocean
an endless grey sky stretching
out over everything
dim lights
and a soft rain falling
with grand windows to watch it through
a bartender with an honest smile
leaning to fill my glass
a jukebox with all the right songs
and endless credits
to the left of me sits a blowzy blonde
with enormous laughter
and to the right an old man
with shining eyes of kindness
and stories to tell of days long passed
and we will talk
if we want to talk
or just be quiet and listen to the rain
time is obsolete
and there’s no place anyone ever
has to be and maybe an old dog
the color of gold
asleep in the corner
and people could smoke if they wanted to
I wouldn’t
mind.

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