“One of Pessoa’s Ghosts” By William Taylor Jr.

 

 

One of Pessoa’s Ghosts

Under the kind and forgiving influence
of three glasses of cheap red wine

I haunt the city like
one of Pessoa’s ghosts,

adrift in the beauty and the terror
of an ordinary Tuesday afternoon.

At Vesuvio Cafe the tourists
drink and laugh at balcony tables.

I take my wine and sit among them,
the soft music of their faces,

my heart forever breaking a bit
for something I can never
quite name,

and it’s all I’ve ever
asked of the world.

 

About the Author: William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a volume of fiction. He is a five time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. He edited Cockymoon: Selected Poems of Jack Micheline, published by Zeitgeist Press in 2017. From the Essential Handbook on Making it to the Next Whatever is his latest collection of poetry. 

 

More By William Taylor Jr.:

The Fire of Now

 

Image Credit: Eugène Atget “Petit Bacchus, 61, rue St. Louis en l’Ile” (1901) Digital image courtesy of the Getty’s Open Content Program.

“The Fire of Now” By William Taylor Jr.

 

 

The Fire of Now
for Ursula Nichowski

Sometimes it feels like there’s not much
other than the fact of death
waiting just beneath the flimsy
surface of it all,
and the crass dullness of our hours
wearing us down like the ocean.
The poets are useless, having
broken with the music of things,
the day an unfortunate
accident no one will cop to.
You find no solace
in the misty gray sky
or the sad old buildings
propped against it,
still haunted by ghosts
of decent things long gone.
You wander the streets
in the soft rain
looking for that old place
with the perfect juke,
but they tore it down
and replaced it
with a world of safe spaces
when all you wanted
was a bit of pretty danger.
And then suddenly her face
like a prison break,
her lips like a pardon
from this world and the next,
reminding you that the fire of now
is forever equal
to the smugness of the void.
You are struck by the bravery
of her beauty in the face
of whatever remains of things.
You tell her as much
and she laughs and says,
why don’t you write
a poem about it,
and you do.

 

About the Author: William Taylor Jr. lives and writes in the Tenderloin neighborhood of San Francisco.  He is the author of numerous books of poetry, and a volume of fiction. He is a five time Pushcart Prize nominee and was a recipient of the 2013 Kathy Acker Award. He edited Cockymoon: Selected Poems of Jack Micheline, published by Zeitgeist Press in 2017. From the Essential Handbook on Making it to the Next Whatever is his latest collection of poetry. 

 

Image Credit: Giuseppe Arcimboldo “Fire” (1566)