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an ev'ning at the airport

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two hours late, maybe more
so I decide to indulge

the fiver is ripped
and she won't take it...
where's a treasury agent when you need one

I at last
immerse myself in tolkien,
enjoying the journey,
yet kind of helplessly
looking for the allegory.

a thrown glance collides in mid-air
and the player piano
with its clunky renditions
of herbie hancock
and fine young cannibals
(commitment to art in public?!)
does not present too much of a distraction
when finally a chair opens up
and I settle in

the din of the courtyard
aids the immersion,
but then mister talkie finds a seat
and speaks profanities in loud, piercing tones
to someone miles away

tolerance is a strength
but still I find I must read aloud to keep focused.
then, finally, I wonder what the clock may have to say
so I venture out to discover
my wait has only begun

many more chairs are now open
so I find a new perch
and there re-join the fifteen on their journey
and although we trudge along quite well
it's difficult to not notice reality

two girls, one guy... on business?
then she lovingly scratches his back.
later, two meet, embrace, kiss
and all I can think...
"do you really know what lurks inside?
how did you get here?
why do you trust?"
and the sting of it all snaps me like a rubber-band
as I reflect on my own betrayal...
no one has pure motives,
no one really knows what they want,
they're just hoping to find something close enough,
and they can lie about the rest...

many weary travellers come and go
sit, and rest, and read, and move on.
then comes mister thick-accent talkie
who is even louder than the first.
Is it inconsiderate to invade the bubble?
After all, this is not a library.
Yet I am not the only one journeying through words here
and there are many more places
that he might burn off his free-night-minutes
wagging his lips.
I hear the sing-songy words in my head...
"I am not knowing why you are talking so loud..."
But my accursed tolerance keeps them from reaching my tongue.

the red sweater walks past...
Did I see that one before?
I did, much earlier, with friends in tow.
I thought, maybe nought.
She criss-crosses in front of me
again, then again.
I wonder, and begin down that road,
then quickly retreat,
my beliefs
my home
my children
my life
too much, too much, too much to fit in.

Stay on the path, said Gandalf.
Stay on the path, said Beorn.
But like so many,
they trusted their eyes,
which showed no end to the path,
and their stomachs
which drew them off the path,
and into greater darkness,
when they were so close,
so close.

How close am I?
He said he knows even before we ask.
And I too see lights off in the forest,
to the left.
Yet deep inside, I know
if I will just keep walking,
here in the misery and darkness
of this deep forest,
I too will discover that the end
is closer than I ever could have thought...

...that is the thread of hope
that carries my heart beat
from dusk to dawn, and then again...

© 2002 (27 november) john r. chase

for now, the borderlands of encouragement, for later, a pile of stones to remember...