Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Strain and Thursday by Shannon Peil


I didn’t agree with why he went
Or that he was going back
But I could appreciate his stories
What he had gone through
The look in his eye that acknowledged he’d seen war

At times I empathized with all he had seen
And the closeness to death
But others I wanted to scream at him
Tell him if no one agreed to go, none of this would have happened
So what came first, the soldier or the war?
What came before that?
The patriotism or the fear?

And his friends that died
Was it their fault they went
Or mine that I didn’t?

But we never mention any of this
I have a feeling he knows I’m not necessarily afraid of death
But I’m terrified of dying for the wrong reasons
And for the sake of friendship we talk of anything else we can think of.


I contemplated spending today
among the coffee shop people
the café patrons sipping expensive drinks
the discussions you overhear are average
but occasionally surprising
kids gossip and whisper a little too loudly
explode into laughter and occupy corners
the elderly read newspapers and have gentle talks
everyone else discusses topics they barely understand
stroke each others egos and look down their noses

I contemplated spending today
among the midday bar people
hushed voices or silence and old jukeboxes
nod to the waitress who sees them ever day
and play pool until the evening
it’s noon on a Thursday and this song has played twice
since I’ve been sitting in the corner
and I’m never quite sure whether I’m being watched
this is just another place that I’m an odd sight

I spent today outside both places
smoking to calm the coffee, and the beer
more comfortable without being stared at.

Bio: Shannon Peil gets published occasionally but rejected more often. He edits for people who actually know what they are doing at http://amphibi.us.