I can’t look at Nighthawks—again.
I mean again and again.
I mean I can
but it’s like the French say,
de trop, trop traité,
too treated, trop trafiqué, like
promising an inner beam
but into the nothingness
instead of the light, into that terrible
fluorescent gaze from nowhere.
I’m not trying to sound like Ferlinghetti
or Sartre or some Kerouac roadie.
The scene I’ve seen de trop,
so much I don’t SEE it.
But I’ve tasted it,
the acid-percolated coffee.
I’ve felt it,
the bad date who stares straight ahead.
I’ve touched it,
my father’s old felt hat, empty.
I’ve smelled it,
cook’s sweaty palms.
Endless waiting for the light that never comes
and never leaves.
Mike Lewis-Beck writes from Iowa City. He has pieces in American Journal of Poetry, Apalachee Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Ekphrastic Review, Guesthouse, Pilgrimage, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. He has a book of poems, Rural Routes, recently published by Alexandria Quarterly Press.
The Ekphrastic Review
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