I Never Learned to Play the Harmonica

I Never Learned to Play the Harmonica

There are times at night, when all seems so still surrounding
and yet, creeping through the stillness, the emptiness, the loneliness,
I hear the whispering sound of wind gamboling outside
Outside the door, outside the windows, outside the walls
toying amid the trees and bushes amid a blanket of shadows there
while I sit alone in the dark listening to a company of voices
of those living secretly in the walls and floors
in places like those I hurried past once upon a child’s time
not lingering, always fearing a hand would sudden pierce the clouded veil
and then towards some chaotic chilling gloom near distant dragged would be
even though struggled did I against the wish to linger
as a delicious, haunting sense of taste that drew me
pulled me, the dark distress temping to drive me, to push past self and merge with it
of those secret places not one knew of that which lured and teased and cast fear all around me
deep enchantment lay where the cold was thick and strong
but, I no longer feel the chilling thrill of those passing moments punctuating the day
for now at the door behind me lays child’s clothing
and now, instead of cold places, dark and troubling that slow my way
I first had come to fear the chipping away of time, and yet, in the spell
in passing by the tumbling chips of man thought clay
I have come to watch them fall more serenely
knowing, sensing that stopping the flakes cannot ever be
nor can I force them to heel to my sway
in passing by them, they in silent snow like fall
watching as they simply slip away in dark of fog
as a chill finger traces a line upon my skin
the touch leaving me wanting more than a little to drink
when drink could, I thought, calm and sleep derive
from some place that only drinkers seem to know
a shallow place, a silent hole, poison filled
where memories in nightmares come full and then spinning slip away
ghostly beings, apparitions that I alone can see the misery in
a private hell of wrongs done that cannot be undone
where pain in torrent rains from all sides, and yet
and yet, feelings cannot show through the web of numbness
regrets are dimmed by liquor’s ghostly fake kindness
so I struggle with the desire to down the bottle whole
as those memories to be drowned sallied forth
the casual haunting for me they do seek
to prod me, wake me, tear at me from my struggling sleep
like the dusty dime harmonica sitting on the shelf
the one laughing at me in the dark
the toy I never learned to play
though tried a hundred times to make
one simple note for me alone
one note to hear the simple tone
while others slept and not one knew
just how I wanted it to play for me
and for the rabbit that forever sleeps alone 1/18/16

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