Her presence was the organizing spice
that made the dish; the multivalent pun;
the compliment whose humor takes you twice
as far aback in unexpected fun,
her laughter tinkling like a scoop of ice
cubes thrown on glass bottles in the sun
that heats a summer vacation afternoon.
This morning though it’s only me and the moon.
Me and the distant moon, who’s not as far
away as she and I have now become.
She laughs that laugh while I sit in this bar
and wonder how I could have been so dumb
to leave where all the things I value are
and vanish in this alcoholic slum,
regretting what I’ve kept and what I’ve strewn
this morning when it’s only me and the moon.
And now the moon is pretty far advanced
along its ambit’s arc above this place
where one is propositioned, not romanced,
and conversation lacks both wit and grace.
I shuffle now where once I might have danced
and face the fact that this is what I face,
however jaded or inopportune,
this morning while it’s only me and the moon.
Barman! Bring another tinkling glass
or two, and we will claim that we’re immune
to all this pitiful alas alas
this morning, you, and me, and the goddamned moon.
Marcus Bales writes: ” ‘Me and the Moon’ was prompted by Cleveland singer-songwriter Alex Bevan’s post on Facebook back in the oughties, I think. He posted early in the morning that he was looking out the window at the dark and reflecting on his life, thinking that it was just ‘me and the moon’. He’s happily married, and so am I, but the poignance of the phrase somehow seemed significant, and I instantly absconded with his idea. As I recall, the poem was pretty quickly written because however happy we may now be, we all have regrets or unhappinesses to remember. I’ve never been much into the bar life but at the time my wife and I had discovered a wine bar we liked to hang out at where we knew the bartender, and I was eased into just going to the bar to chill and observe and listen. Of course Western culture is soaked in alcohol, but I had not been. It was interesting to see how the whole thing worked — and didn’t work.”
Not much is known about Marcus Bales except that he lives and works in Cleveland, Ohio, and that his work has not been published in Poetry or The New Yorker. However his ’51 Poems’ is available from Amazon. He has been published in several of the Potcake Chapbooks (‘Form in Formless Times’).