Just Me the Old Bench
There They Sit
so peaceful. So effortlessly. Silently passing the time away. Nameless figures on the sundial of time living on forgotten wishes, broken dreams, and dusty desires. They sit. Their work is done. They wonder. And wonder from dawn 'til dark. And wonder more while they taste of elderly dreams that come too rarely--fading faster than the eye can blink.
They forget they are asleep for dreams become reality (for some). The dances they dances and mountains they climbed are all still too real (for some). Fear shows its ever-present face--ready to head for a long trip, leaving somewhere, arriving nowhere. They sleep. Dreams are shorter. Breaths now labored. Age touches their empty bottle of youth.
A stick. A cane. A hat brim hides a forgotten face. Years pile up as promises lay dying. Life's legs are not strong enough to walk so far away. They fade before our eyes--so pale and white with faces deep in defeat so deep and white snow on ragged roof tells a forsaken love of old. Their heart throbs . . .but slower than hours ago. Their hands shake reaching for one more desire to enjoy. One more taste of sweet life to swallow. But what remains are crumbs of success promised and drops of vows of goodness drained.
Every Small Town
has one. You have one. I had one. The overlooked. Taken-for-granted pieces of painted wood built by hands to hand out the good. A place to sit, rest, and take it easy. Let life absorb the details. Sit with your friends, the old friends who all know your name.
I have more than one color. But speak several languages. I am no one. I can be everyone, but no one really special. No star-lit names or dime store games. I once lived when you were young and you grew away--but I've had anywhere to go. I lived in the dreams that you would all be back one day.
So eventually, when old clocks struck 12. You came. But your talk is slower. Your ambition lower. All by yourself, just you and me, the old bench.
Oh, you and I are far from alone. On the other side of town, I have a few good friends who look and act like me. I know that I'll never see them--unless we are buried in a junkyard, you see. Old friend, your three friends are coming today. Sit up! You should be happy, friend. You have no reason to be sad. Oh, if I had lived the life you lived, yes, sir. And oh, if I had been given the good things you've had.
But alas, old friend, raining on my back causes it to stench. Bad paint, I guess. Oh, just let it go, my friend. Just you and me, here the old bench.
In the Years I've Lived Here
I've saw a thousand winks of pretty girls now old. I've saw cheap peddlers sell, lie, and then quickly go. And I've stood quiet and watch the wind, the rain and threatening lightning ring. Still I sit with your fists that clench. Just you, me here, the old bench.
Some who sit with you chew while some may smoke. One I know is a prince and one maybe a bloke. One who passed a year ago, fought two wars with you. And keep his memory aflame. But in my case, what's in a name? I never crawled in your trench. I was young then. Just someone's dream--so colorful and not a word so dense. Yeah. Just you and me here, the old bench.
Go on. Sit awhile. I don't mind. I have nowhere to go. Stay a long time while you and your old friends can chat. Take time to see where they are at. Take the same time to see where you are at. It's not really funny. I won't charge you any money. Not a pence. I'm just here with you, and me, the old bench.
© 2017 Kenneth Avery