No Place To Go
She wants me to see for myself,
so we drive to where
all rejected Einsteins go to die.
Didn’t even recognize the man called Dad;
playing dominoes in this smoke-filled room;
dingy green walls soaking up sounds
from some old radio playing long gone blues.
I tell him he doesn’t belong with these bums.
He says, “What bums? These are my friends.”
He says, “Black women just don’t understand
that a Black man has… no place to go.
No bowling alleys, no YMCA… nothing.”
So he comes to this place
where he can talk and
people will listen.
Now I’m back in the car
listening to Mom pour out her pain.
How Dad always tells her
he’s going out to buy a newspaper;
sometimes takes him two or three days to buy one.
Too busy smokin’, drinkin’, or playing pool.
Shootin’ balls all over the table
when he should have his balls at home.
She says it’s really not that bad;
that she’s too old to leave now;
that there is… no place to go.
I go home,
start thinking about my own pain,
that I tried to swallow in one afternoon
with an entire bottle of sake.
I savor the sweet earthy brew
until it begins to taste like poetry;
begins to taste just like him,
reminding me that I should be
drinking milk instead.
Then I hear kids laughing and singing
over some Nintendo game.
The dog wants to go for a walk
and something is burning on the stove.
So. I pour one… last… drink.
Even though I know
sake will never soothe
never erase the misery
of staying with a man
who has become my pain
just because I’m afraid
that I too
no place… to go.