Poems From an Old Friend

The annual Pulse Writer’s Exposé is just around the corner. As a way of looking forward, we look back to some poems by Shirley Smith Wilbert whose work has appeared from time to time on these pages. Shirley is a retired professor of Library Sciences now living in Columbia, Missouri. These two poems were awarded honors in the Writer’s Digest 74th annual writing competition.
@ Gravity’s Café
The corner café sits on broken concrete
amid hoary overgrown brush
a reflection of solitary neglect.
Yet … …
the aging men with wooly white hair,
ragged beards and sagging wrinkles
shuffle in on a daily basis,
sip bitter black coffee,
and eat greasy biscuits
when “money is right,”
tell jokes with toothless grins,
await on tenterhooks
the next game of dominoes.
On occasion bluesy music
drifts languorously from a rear room,
Nostalgic rhythms create bleary memories
of what seems long ago,
Only here … … …
the old ones discarded by time keep counterpoised,
by the pinch effect of the timeworn café.
Crackheads Sleeping in a Doorway
On pillows of stone,
floating in dreamworlds
plagued by bitter euphoria
broken covenants
lost innocence,
the nightmares implode.
Rap of the streets echoes,
Sirens wail,
Fires burn,
Some…no many…bodies die.
Like painted mannequins
whores woodenly model their wares,
Pimps mount guard like sentinels
watching over another buy,
Vacant beet colored eyes awaken
to prickly tremors
gnawing bellies
visions of the Monster-man’s place,
light in the darkness of life.