By George Bilgere
Featured Image: A Bride by Abbott Handerson Thayer 1895
Perhaps, in a distant café,
four or five people are talking
with the four or five people
who are chatting on their cell phones this morning
in my favorite café.
And perhaps someone there,
someone like me, is watching them as they frown,
or smile, or shrug
to their invisible friends or lovers,
jabbing the air for emphasis.
And like me, he misses the old days,
when talking to yourself
meant you were crazy,
back when being crazy was a big deal,
not just an acronym
or something you could take a pill for.
I liked it
when people who were talking to themselves
might actually have been talking to God
or an angel.
You respected people like that.
You didn’t want to kill them,
as I want to kill the woman at the next table
with the little blue light on her ear
who has been telling the emptiness in front of her
about her daughter’s bridal shower
in astonishing detail
for the past thirty minutes.
O person like me,
phoneless in your distant café,
I wish we could meet to discuss this,
and perhaps you would help me
gag this woman on her cell phone,
after which we could have a cup of coffee,
maybe a bagel, and talk to each other,
face to face.
George Bilgere’s most recent book, Haywire, won the May Swenson Poetry Award
in 2006. His new book of poems, The White Museum, won the 2009 Autumn
House Poetry Prize and appears this spring. He teaches at John Carroll University
in Cleveland, Ohio.
Originally published in NOR Spring 2010.