Retirement Days
by Alan Walowitz

I am still waiting for a train that never comes.
I settle in at the station,
my place reserved between
all that’s forgotten
and what I’m sure will never occur.
You can call me has-been, used-to-be,
anything at all, so long as
only gets announced
in that garbled, godlike voice,
no one can understand
or let me tell it to myself,
sotto voce, entre trains,
with the camera panning shyly away
so as not to make a fool of me
even in the dailies.

Oh, God, don’t make me do another take:
the strutting and the carrying on,
the waiting for goodbye at the station
preceded by the hero’s angst
as he battles to select just the right tie
and a shirt that hardly wrinkles.
Didn’t you say fashion was a way
to make us nearer to the gods?
And for God’s sake won’t he ever
tell me what this waiting means,
and try to make my life work without?
And while he’s at it,
maybe the train could pass
every now and again, and I’ll swear
to all that’s holy
I’ll never try to get on.

PAINTING: Train in Evening by Paul Delvaux (1957).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I treasure my copy of Source, a little magazine published in 1977 or so. In the Table of Contents is a poem by Lawrence Ferlinghetti and another by Alan Walowitz. It was one of my first publications and I’m sure it made no impression at all on the great Ferlinghetti. The photo of me (below) is from that same time. I’m much greyer and older, but I’m still waiting.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Alan Walowitz is a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, comes from Osedax Press. The full-length The Story of the Milkman and Other Poems is available from Truth Serum Press. Most recently, from Arroyo Seco Press, is the chapbook In the Muddle of the Night, written trans-continentally with poet Betsy Mars.