Calm Corner



Empathy hung out with us Friday night on the corner.

He was older than the guys, salt and pepper hair,

street-wizened jeans, and refreshingly articulate

considering the Wild Irish we were sharing.


No one knew him or paid him much mind except me.

He had broken off with a neighborhood babe,

was unemployed but had prospects,

and yes, he could be available for poker or gin.


He said he wrote poetry and a few songs,

free verse mostly, but lately seemed stalled.

We all come back to the words though …

 don’t we? Know what I mean?


He took another slug of red, rubbed his thumb

hard across the bottle, looked me eye to liquid eye,

It’s like nipples on fingers, tongues from the veins.

When it’s ripe it seems limitless, flawless then calm.


He wandered off leaving me stupefied.

I had scrawled those exact lines earlier that afternoon.

Pondering how different this would all seem tomorrow

and how sober I now thought I’d be,


an older guy with a long gray beard

carrying a legal pad and a pencil the size of his forearm

stepped into the light of the drug store sign,

extended his hand, introduced himself as Memory.


  1. You knocked my socks off with this one, Craig.

    No superlative is enough.. I will read it again and again
    until my eyes fade. It gets right to the core of things.



  2. Hi Craig

    Love the vibrant and realistic way you personify the two characters of “Empathy” and “Memory”. I think as writers we all visualize our muses and other traits that haunt ourselves and our writing. Sometimes, the words , themselves, become entities that take on a will and personality of their own. This is clever, imaginative and a real pleasure to read.

    So much enjoyed!


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