(I’ve been very fortunate to have had people in my life
with whom I’ve experienced the healing power of laughter
in some of the roughest of times. This poem is dedicated
to Nick and Daniel. Thanks guys.)
They parted that Tuesday at one,
each going his separate way,
each buzzing with a keen energy
that seemed to turn up the volume
of life maybe a notch or two: sights
and sounds pinging nerve endings
with a little more intensity,
neighborhood aromas registering
more noticeably like some kind
of fragrant alchemical mist.
One day lingering over a second beer,
dishes having been cleared, they wondered
together what kept them coming back
to this monthly lunch after twenty-some years.
Well-educated, serious seekers
of truth, they first postulated
some existential gobbledygook
that sounded profound but held
no satisfaction or resonance.
Finally they settled into an easy groove, smiling
ever more broadly at their recognized pretensions
until a spontaneous explosion of laughter
nearly upended their table onto the floor.
Suddenly, they remembered as one
that no matter how stirring or draining
the tale of weal or woe they weaved,
inevitably, at some point, they would
find themselves falling into a pool of irony,
doused by a spray of humorous leveling
and farcical turn.
And it was this, this salting
of stern and smoky clouds with laughter,
they finally decided, which continued
to lure them and confirm them
with the resolve and dignity
needed to step back again
into the sometimes torturous maze
that is the inscrutable, cockeyed
drama of life.
And so, as they exited into bright sunshine
they once again pronounced their version
of amen—a simple see you next time.
© 2015 Dennis Ference