Please do not join do not join this train

By | 15 May 2023

YESTERDAY WHEN I didn’t kiss
the IT guy, the whole world fell apart.
A staticky electricity
now fills the air as I wait on
a letter that might not ever arrive.
It’s been teeming down all week, windy
as hell, sideways rain. I wore leaky
boots so wet feet all day on Wednesday
and my umbrella broke on Thursday.

Footpaths are littered with abandoned
umbrellas like dead wet birds, over-
flowing bins. Trains are packed and steamy,
days are getting dark by four o’clock.
Good things do happen. A book cover
I illustrated arrives, I do
a little dance, the designer does
several, the author will dance a jig
when his copy arrives in the post.

But something else is still going on.
My All-Important Urgent Files dis-
appear. Digital mayhem ensues.
The typesetter wants the corrections
by fax or email. I try the fax;
it jams. When I try it again it
goes off like an alarm. I try turn-
ing it off and on again – and it
goes berserk. A fucking fax machine.

I give up and leave to meet my friends,
forget to take my new umbrella.
Walking from Central to the dumpling
place I keep seeing mail vans. I think
of the letter I long for and dread
that doesn’t seem on its way to me.
Of course I miss the dumpling place and
walk into a pub, walk back on out,
find the right restaurant and join my friends.

We eat dumplings and talk about how
the IT guy has a crush on me.
My friends say it’s because he wasn’t
at work today that everything went
haywire. I wonder if he’s thinking
about me, I hope he’s not thinking
about me. Is this IT madness
all bad karma for rejecting him
sent out from the ether straight to me?

I leave the restaurant and it’s raining.
I get stuck at Central for an hour
waiting for
the train on platform nine-
teen terminates here please do not join
this train the train on platform 19
terminates here the train on platform
19 terminates here please do not
join do not join this train on platform
please do not join do not join this train

At the other end I walk through rain,
I think of the train I’m trying to
get off, wondering where I’m going,
how I hope and dread there’s a letter
waiting for me at home. I hope it
says the things the IT guy told me.
I would marry you in a heartbeat.
Can we get a dog, even a cat?
Who cares what has happened in the past

what happens is
now walking the wet
night street, I think of how it will end.
There will be no letter waiting and
I’ll curl up in bed with the two cats,
I’ll think of my new painting of my
small bright candle in the other room
and its warm steady flame in the dark.
I open the letterbox.
It’s there.

I take it out and bring it inside.
I hold the letter but can’t open
it yet because everything will change.
I sit down to write. I draft this poem.
Shortly when I open it, will I
destroy it? Will I destroy this poem?
I see the stamp’s a rose that says LOVE.
A bug’s half squished on the envelope,
I know how you feel, buddy.

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