Sunday, September 8, 2013

pals, part 6: devastation and retreat

by horace p sternwall

illustrated by eddie el greco and konrad kraus


click here for previous chapter

click here to begin at the beginning




"an early night, ben?"
jane casually enquired, and then
although it may have been my imagination
i thought i saw a deputation

of angels of compassion
(but in no emphatic fashion)
flit across her pale face
but they quickly passed without a trace

i was at a crossroads
my brain staggered under heavy loads
and its barely connected parts
after a few fits and starts

stopped functioning altogether
and i didn't know whether
i was dreaming or awake
or if the world was real or fake

how much time went by?
i will not even try
to approximately calculate
but it probably determined my fate

jane's eyes began to glaze
her brows she slightly raised
there was nothing left to say
i knew i had better be on my way

my brain contracted with cosmic fear
i mumbled a goodbye she probably couldn't even hear
and staggered away with a flea in my ear
(to use an old fashioned expression so drear)

the night was dark - what else would it be?
but somehow i was able to see
my way home to mrs brown's front door
as i had done so many times before

it was late - very late
no one wondered at my fate
or questioned my steps on the stairs
as they had their own cares

mrs brown slept the sleep of the good
and the other boarders understood
that everyone's world was their own
in which they could silently squirm and moan

replays danced and twisted in my head
i tried to remember all that was said
in the fateful hour just flashed
in which all my dreams had crashed

one thought especially thundered
through my brain as i wondered
what henry and jane were saying
about my premature straying

if i had stayed one minute more
my head would not be in this uproar
now i could picture henry's smirk
because i had been such a jerk

beer and pretzels they 'd be quaffing
as at me they were laughing
and then another terrible thought
went through me like a shot

i could picture their lips moving
in conversation most improving
i could hear their voices rise and fall
as they never mentioned me at all

not even in mockery or scorn
i might as well never have been born
the little man who was not there
vanished into thinnest air

i felt a strange reassurance
at contemplating this possible occurrence
and with this thought so deep
i finally drifted off to sleep

but not without a final musing
on the dream i was losing
but the dream was - what?
maybe it was no dream - but

images of henry and jane
fell like raindrops in my brain
henry turned into a yellow dog
and jane to a doorway in the fog


7. resolution


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