Watching the stream of smoke spiral upward

From the cigarette of a person at a nearby table,

Witnessing its loss of distinction as it joins

The haze of the darkening cloud above,

It swirls around, twisted in upon itself

By the cutting edge of the fans’ blades,

While it stays adhered to the tiles above,

Arranged in their porous, linear monotony,

Which is now stained by the pungent cloud,

I sit waiting for the storm to fall from above,

To rain down upon me as I sit solemnly below,

This writhing mass returns my stare,

As it hovers, persists; I sit,

With two fingers in some quasi-grip,

Wrapped around a cup of coffee,

Its pattern of movement mimicking

The swirling pattern above,

Its warmth is gone, its taste is bitter,

It is as if it is some modern uniform for conversation,

A necessary process for continuation,

Words spill from a bottomless source

(Like the origin of this black beverage),

Only to fall into a cup from which everyone drinks,

Yet it never seems to empty,

This dismal scene is a common social thread,

One that links the fabrics of my social interactions,

An all night restaurant that serves more than sustenance,

A place that has housed thousands of conversations,

Some that have saved lives,

Others that have mourned the loss of such,

Nonetheless a place I associate with close friends,

Close conversations, closeness itself,

It is Waldens like this I leave behind,

Friends like these I must remember,

Because time and space will not allow us to be material.

Author's Notes/Comments: 

I wrote this after a long night at a 24hr restuarant with a good friend. We were reflecting upon all of the conversations our small group of friends had had there over the years.

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Joel G.'s picture

a gorgeous poem.
made me consider the nature of my own conversation in such places.
your imagery is wonderful and rife with interesting phrases and imagination, made me feel as if i was sharing your table.

Jere''s picture

With this poem, and the one entitled Seperate Paths, you have passed from the very good to the EXCEEDLINGLY GREAT.
There are very few poets whom I will allow to make me "besmitten" with their work; and far fewer still, among that group, who are your age. I am an old, stern bureaucrat in a financial institution; and my enjoyment of poetry is very much like my enjoyment of my work at the office---few, if any, surprises, and a comforting consistency. But, discovering your poems today, I have found an exception to my usual rule. There is only one other young poet that I know of whose quality is equal to yours. And this poem, along with the one I cited above, already demonstrate your inherent greatness. And that greatness is not just something in your future; you are achieving it now.

Michelle Duvall's picture

Loved the theme of this one. I could actually picture myself in your poem like a scene from a movie. I loved your descriptive details, they added a lot. We all have our places that somehow help define our past. I'm a night owl myself and have spent many red eyed nights at a place not to diffent from this one.