I wrote Is This Seat Taken? after hearing a elderly woman at a poetry conference talk of her life. Her story began as young woman and her first trip to New York. She spoke of her experiences through war, depression, technology, love, and of course, poetry. I took a snap shot of her younger years and fit her character to this black and white photo of a woman in Europe (the photographer is unknown). I created a persona in a poem.
Oh, life is a glorious cycle of song,
A medley of extemporanea;
And love is a thing that can never go wrong;
And I am Marie of Romania.
Is This Seat Taken?
It is 3:30 a.m.; she is thirty one and
questions the thoughts dangling
over her misery; 3:32 a.m. and alone.
It was a script of questions,
it was open season, a nest of hornets,
one more trip around the personals.
She drove her car to New York,
one way streets, concrete to velvet rope,
a zoo of mania. She did not know
Manhattan; she only knew
how glamorous she was.
She thinks of having a cigarette,
searches with her hand
over silvery satin sheets,
glistening like the ocean;
she finds the red and white
hidden inside her gray pillow case
with a half-used matchbook
a trendy French restaurant.
The night is over.
It was a dream she once had, a flame,
red and hot--A man.
He burned like her heart,
it lasted no longer
than thirty minutes and the scar singed.
Pain lies. Love is a concept of the mind,
lost and found in no
more than one hour.
Shackled to a ghost of her fantasies;
the blood of love slips past her lips
like rings of gray smoke.
The venery of her escape is hunting
for black and white
photos; she says, as the sun is rising,
it shadows her reoccurring stories.
A pain howls from inside her
for someone to save her.
Therein lies her war.