One Hand

Old Man in Window
The stories of the street are mine, the Spanish voices laugh.
The Cadillacs go creeping now through the night and the poison gas,
and I lean from my window sill in this old hotel I chose,
yes one hand on my suicide, one hand on the rose.
~ Leonard Cohen (The Stories of the Street)

I spy out my window, pan the changed neighborhood
And decided all this change is not for the better
Variety has its place, yes, that’s understood
But it suits neither me nor my aging setter
And I’d change it all back, if only I could
Tales of old I tell to ones who know not hoe from staff
With cheeky little chuckles some listen to my lore
others, not so politely pretend not to snore
All too quick to set upon any misspoken gaff
The stories of the street are mine, the Spanish voices laugh

In my country youth we rode the roads on horse
Potential fertilizer the only cause for alarm
Yes there were the rich who had cars of course
But that was a life far from my sharecropper farm
Get through the toils of the day our driving force
But a bend of brutal winter came to pass
And my quiet country road became a bustling city street
With days filled of noise glaze the tons of people to meet
Fragrant airy fields gone as different scents amass
The Cadillacs go creeping now through the night and the poison gas

Not to say this city life did not have its good days
you’d note me as a liar if I told you so
It has been no bed of roses as the old folks say
But there are sweet things I’ve come to know
Oats have I sown in many ways
Yes, I’ve known my measure of passion’s throes
I’ve rented flats and owned several places
But with time and finances I’ve lost those spaces
My remaining sunset days spent in SROs
And I lean from my window sill in this old hotel I chose

Some concern fills my advancing years
As I outlive those who knew me well
The ones who get my sudden laughter and tears
Without a long explanation to tell
Only my Josie’s left to indent my fears
But even the end of her dog’s life draws nigh and so it goes
As I enjoy the lovely flower paid to entertain my night
I eye the bottle on dresser barely seen in the dim light
And I oscillate between my joys and my woes
Yes, one hand on my suicide, one hand on the rose.

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Entered in:


Thursday Poets Rally – Week 45

21 thoughts on “One Hand

  1. the setting and the story are well plotted…

    one hand on my suicide and one hand on the rose,
    this ending line is powerful.

    Bless you, for being yourself and for being creative.
    Happy Rally.
    😉

  2. This is the first time I’ve seen your blog, it won’t be the last. It was only after I read your poem that I read your ‘about me’ page. From references to your ‘sharecropping days’ and sowing wild oats, I felt the poet was male. It was such a pleasant surprise to learn a female could slip into the subjects’s persona so deeply as to fool me. This is a wonderful write.

    • I try to treat each “character” that comes forth as real as possible within the limited scope of my empathy and imagination. When it’s a character so far from my own life experiences, it’s nice to hear/read that I have done so convincingly.

      Thank you Mike!

  3. First off I would like to say that your profile picture is beautiful. Thank you for taking a trip in my head (My Blog). The words you displayed were just delightful, this is my first time stopping by and it will not be my last.

    “Some concern fills my advancing years
    As I outlive those who knew me well
    The ones who get my sudden laughter and tears
    Without a long explanation to tell”

    Just Lovely

  4. You describe the old days and the life so beautifully, cheers to all your wonderful and reviving memories, condolences on the change you found not better, but keep both hands on the rose, its much pretty.

    • Thank you Becca. The Glosa form is a favorite of mine for that reason. It’s always interesting to be able to read someone’s words and then take them in completely different direction than the original piece would seem to dictate.

  5. Brilliant, powerful words. It is a shame that my generation seems to be all too happy to ignore the truths of the past, for it is said and shown that the past repeats itself if we do not learn.
    The Lonely Recluse.

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