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Oct 2012
To whom it may concern,

     I am alone.  Although it may never quite seem that way, both night and day I am confined to solitude.  These past six years hitherto have been filled with nothing more than the fictional characters in my texts and the short pleasantries granted in passing by dismal men, women, and even children that occupy my days.  Each morning, as the dawn breaks, I wake up disgusted with myself in that same manner which sundry men and women have.  It is not the loneliness, however, that disgusts me.  No, I do believe I have grown quite fond of the residual silence.  Instead, I believe it to be the dull monotony of my routine that has left me truly disturbed.  The days have begun to fade in with each other, along with the nights---especially the nights.  I cannot say, for instance, whether or not it was last evening or that of a day three months afore that I was seated at my desk, much like I am now, finishing the latest draft of a poem in my journal.  Nor could I tell you the present date, although the heat of the day, still trapped in the rafters, is so persistent that I am obliged to say it must be one of those blue summer nights when children run, squealing, through the streets, like plump pigs to the trough.  I have become somewhat of a hermit, secluded in my small, run-down apartment above my bodega.  My mind has grown as wild as the violet petunias, bridging the gap over the narrow, brick walk which separates my garden--- as the myriad of dandelions that have invaded the surrounding lawn.
     Throughout the day I work the till in my shop, observing the assorted physiognomies that populate the three small isles.  As they walk up and down, deciding what they most desire, I, too, contemplate to myself, deciding the few whom I might admire should I get the chance.  I often attempt to strike up conversations with my customers, much to their dismay.  I comment on the weather, the soccer scores from a recent game, or perhaps a story from the local section of the Post & Courier, only to receive terse responses and short payments.  However, I never let these failed attempts at congenial conversation discourage me.  Day after day, I persist.
     The nights are easier.  Although I do not attend the boisterous bars spread out amongst the small restaurants and boutiques that line the narrow city streets as I once did, I often drink.  Seated alone, armed with a liter of Ri, two glasses, one with small cubes of ice and one without, and a pen; I waste my nights scribbling down nearly every thought that leaps into my inebriated mind.  My prose has yet to show any real promise, but my thirst to transcend from this pathetic, pseudo-intellectual literature student struggling with his thesis into something more drives me to ignore those basic desires, defined by Maslow as needs; venturing out and exploring the community that I inhabit or talking to another person as a friend.  So I sit, night after night, at the foot of this large bay window, looking out onto the tired faces of the busy street below.  I sit, night after night, tracing the streaks of red light from the tails of passing cars, imprinted in the backs of my eyelids like sand-spurs stuck in a heel.
     I can recall a time when my flat was not the dank, dimly lit hole in the wall that it has become today.  A time, not too distant, when the rich chestnut floorboards glistened beneath the fluorescent pendant lights, when champagne dripped like rain from the white coffers in the blue ceiling, and music shook the walls and rattled the windows.  Men and women alike would wander through the rooms, inoculated by my counterfeit Monet's and their glasses of box wine.  When not entertaining, I wrote.  At long length I sat beneath my window, proliferating prose or critiquing a classmate's from workshop, but those days have passed.  The floors no longer shine; instead they lay suffocating under piles of fetid clothes.  The halls no longer echo with the rhythmic chorus of an acoustic guitar or the symphonies of men and women's laughter;  the lights are burnt out, the paint is peeling off the walls, and the homages are concealed beneath vast fields of mildew and mold.  Puddles of whiskey sit unattended on the granite countertops around the bottoms of corks for weeks, allowing the strong scent to foster and waft freely through the air ducts into the store below.  The dilapidation that ensued after I stopped receiving visitors was not just of the home, however. Worse yet was the steady rot of my own mind.  Although I have often been referred to as "a bit eccentric," and often times folks would inquire if I had, "a ***** loose in [my] noggin," I have only recently begun to find myself walking about the neighborhood garden in the small hours of the morning more than occasionally.  Further still, it is only recently that I cannot remember how, or when, I came to be where I am. Whenever I do happen to roam the night, it appears as if I do it unbeknownst to myself, throughout the throes of my sleep.  Similarly, I have only just begun to notice that, often times while I attempt to write, I sit, talking feverishly---yelling at an empty bottle, until I find another to quench my thirst.  Luckily, there is always another bottle.
     Needless to say, these past few years have left me very tired, and, after much consideration, I have decided that it would be best if I were to "shuffle off this mortal coil."  However, much like Hamlet himself, I could never bring myself to act upon the feeling.  Though I often wonder about what awaits me after my last breath warms the winter of this world, the coward that I have become is in no hurry to find out.  Alors, I am left with one option: leave.  Though I am not yet brave enough to slip into that, the deepest of sleeps, I have gathered courage enough to walk throughout the day.
           Charon Solus
Steven Y Burris
Written by
Steven Y Burris  USA
(USA)   
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       SassyJ, Randolph L Wilson, am i ee, ---, --- and 2 others
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