Fugue '52

by P. Scott Cunningham

(Originally published in Pool: A Journal of Poetry, Issue #6, 2007)


I.

I was sitting and reading
when the ache came over me.
It was Feldman,
his thin tie and square glasses,
cigarette dwarfed by fingers,
the elegant wave of his hair.
There he was, chatting with Cage
at the corner bar that stands for all corner bars.
It was early in the afternoon.
They sat in a booth by the window
drinking coffee.
Somewhere, a beautiful woman was dying
but they were unperturbed,
flicking their words across the table
like the heads of matchsticks.


II.

It was Feldman drinking coffee.
I was sitting and reading
the elegant wave of his hair.
They sat in a booth by the window flicking their words across the table
when the ache came over me.
Somewhere, a beautiful woman was dying:
thin tie, square glasses,
cigarette dwarfed by fingers.
It was early in the afternoon
at the corner bar that stands for all corner bars,
but they were unperturbed
like the heads of matchsticks.
There he was, chatting with Cage.


III.

Somewhere a beautiful woman was dying
like the heads of matchsticks.
There he was chatting with Cage,
cigarette dwarfed by fingers.
It was early in the afternoon.
They sat in a booth by the window
but they were unperturbed.
I was sitting and reading
at the corner bar that stands for all corner bars
flicking their words across the table,
his thin tie and square glasses,
drinking coffee
when the ache came over me.
The elegant wave of his hair.
It was Feldman.