Let’s Bring Out all the Clichés for This One

Music has filled this empty night
with words and melodies
carrying all those memories
that bring with them a tender caress,
a wry smile.
Then a burning pain.

When my years were young
my pastor told me about hell.
He lit a match
and said the fires of hell
are seven times hotter
than this match.
Sorry, Brother Billy,
but Beelzebub can’t touch this one.
His fires would be a cool breeze
in this night

That’s the answer.
Drink it down and then drink another.
But we know what a foolish thing
that would be.
No one could drink that much.
As I’ve found too many times.
There’s just not enough alcohol
to drink you off my mind.

So, hit the road.
Get away from it all.
There must be some smiles
further down the way
after I drive and drive
until I drive you out of my mind.
It sure won’t be the first time
I’ve tried that.
But I’ve never found a highway long enough
to drive you off my mind.

Cliches all
and the same old ones.
Losing her songs.
I miss you songs.
All those ones that rip the beats
right out of your heart.

I wish I didn’t know
where you now rest for all eternity.
Where I want to believe
you peacefully sleep.
The location is knowledge
which does not serve me well.
Of which I should have no need.
For as soon as I finish scribbling
these words tonight,
I will be out the door.
For miles don’t matter
or the dark of night.

Those songs will sing from the radio
all the way there,
taking me to both places —
where she lays miles away
and to those years where the memories lie.
I will drive through the night
until my headlights wash across
a field of stones.
So, I can stand there again
even for a few minutes,
close to you in some strange way.
You wouldn’t think it would bring comfort
but it does.

I will talk to you a bit, maybe even softly sing
one of our old songs.
I may walk back and forth just a little.
Yes, I will say all the stupid things
like how I miss you
and how life isn’t the same.
I rarely cry, though.
After all these years.
(Liar, liar. Pants on fire).
Finally, I will just stand there
as if in a daze as the memories come.
Eyes open; eyes closed.
It doesn’t matter for my sight is zeroed in
on a time many years ago.

If I am lucky, I will feel her there
with me.
Sometimes, I can catch a glimpse of her
long red hair reflected in the moonlight
and blowing a bit in the breeze.
There are some nights I know I can catch a whiff
of her scent.
The faint fragrance of the essence of her
that was always there when we danced,
when we just held one another,
when all we could feel was the bond.
It would be too much to hope for more
though it happened once.
Just once, I know I felt your hand gently on my neck,
a momentary caress.
That was a night to remember.
I have few of those these days,
these years.

So, let me grab my car keys
and the phone.
Let’s head on out the door
I have no need of a map
for my heart knows the way.

Michael Mathews
September 14, 2020
10:34 PM Monday
Near a place where I hear rumors of home