The prompt from Writers’ Island this week was “The Journey.” I have no idea how I got from there to here, but here’s the poem — and I couldn’t pass up the video.
drinking beer with bob dylan
It’s late and we are sitting in a tavern
I know well but can’t name.
“Oh, where have you been my brown-eyed son?”
he asks and smiles – I think it’s a smile.
I laugh a little and look at my shoes,
the ones I wear to work each day,
black and wrinkled, with specks
of something on one of the toes.
“I’ve lived in the darkness they call my depression.
I’ve cooked for a living and cooked out of loving.
I come home to a woman who makes me feel wanted.
I’ve written and planted and broken and hoped for.
I’ve traveled the world without leaving my city.
I’ve let myself dream what just might never happen.
I’ve staked my whole life on a faith that’s elusive.
I’ve stood under the stars to give thanks that I’m breathing.”
He turns up his mug and wipes
his mouth with his sleeve.
“You would think, after forty-five years,
I would have a new question,” he says,
“but there’s seems nothing else to ask.”
I look at his hands, now arthritic and unable
to play the guitar; only the piano.
Still, he plays and sings.
He is sixty-six; I, soon, will be fifty-one;
both of us just past the five and dime
birthdays that are so heartily celebrated.
Between us, we have over a century
of stories and so we sit long into the night
telling them, until the bartender
tells us he has a journey of his own
and sends us out into what is left of it.
It would have been perfect
if a hard rain had begun to fall,
but it didn’t. We stood there in the chill
of a petulant night resisting the dawn,
and realized we would not see each other again.
He’s not much of a hugger, so I didn’t even try.
“Thanks for the beers,” he said, as the lights went out.
I stood and watched as he slipped into the darkness.