a friend of mine tells me
I need to stop dwelling on the past
that nostalgia is an anchor
that will weigh me down
he’s like the lyric
to that Hank Williams song
« I saw the light, « I saw the light. »
a song he sang to Minnie Pearl
his feet sticking out the side
of an open convertible
on its way to Memphis
I’m still groping for that light
a hundred shadows from my past
hitch-hiking along for the ride

angels have traded in their wings
for a ticket to my dreams
the phantom of the opera
has a front row seat in my nightmares
mutilated poems wrap them self in my arms
pit tomorrow against yesterday
nomadic thoughts camp inside
my brain cells
master to none  servant to many
old flame’s light burned out torches
in my loins
there is no place to flee
no resting stop at the end
of a long journey
from here to nowhere
I spend the afternoon
at Martha’s coffee shop
with hot coffee and a newspaper
for company
tomorrow those same newspaper lines
will be past history
should I pretend they never existed?
I am ten months into
my seventy-seventh year
winter will soon be here
with her cold claws and heavy rain
forcing her way into the walls of my mindwere she of human flesh
she would crack open
my memory vault
find miles of past memories
that flow like Li Po poems
down a river old as time
should I ignore her
tell her to come back next winter
that now isn’t the time?
I have written one too many memorial poems
for friends who have passed-away
should I shut them out of my mind
focus on tomorrow
build a graveled  path that leads
to the promised land?
my emotions are trapped in quicksand
no place to run
no place to hide
endless chatter comes from
the 4-walls where
death hides between the cracks
the past is my lover
she clings to my body
like a child to a mother’s bosom
she sleeps in my memory cells
like a phantom bank that accepts
only deposits  refuses withdrawals
I think of her
like I think of San Francisco
the city of my birth
the salt air smell at ocean beach
the Marina Greens
north beach and the fillmore
all filled with memories
my past is my present
the future a gypsy fortune teller
my existence
a slow chugging locomotive
on an anonymous journey
known only to the conductor
punching invisible tickets in the hands
of faceless passengers

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