"Women of 20 are as mature as a man of 40," Ed declares
in his red and gray running suit.
But I wonder," he continues, "when she says
"Ed, you're just not mature enough"--
"Alex was sure cute, wasn't she?" he asks.
I stare at him , feeling the pen
like a sword in my hand.
"I don't want to talk about that," I say
and take a long puff off the fake cigarette
I made: a shortened straw, a bit of tissue
(for drag) and a bright red highlighter tip.
Ed goes off to the other side of the patio
where he rides the stationary bike a while.
Schizophrenic, he had spent the better part
of the afternoon wailing in his room, two doors
down from mine. When he returns from the bike
he doesn't talk, just stares at me, puffing on my
straw cigarette, as I write about him.
I feel a little bit of guilt: Should I listen
to his placcid rant, now the drugs have kicked in,
or shall I just feel the air, the cool, sweet air
Santa Babara Air, early October, a hint of salt
Shall I rest my puffed-up eyes on cypress
trees through the window, a procession of palms
running through them, and just admire
the red flowers on some species I don't know
a soft bloodred against the rich green bushes:
Shall I drink my fake spiced chai tea
and sense the peace of this quiet place
ignoring Ed; ignoring all attempts at mindless
union, even the girl who wanders in to start
a load of laundry, tears puffing up her face
like mine, soul sisters of the broken mind.
Ignore them all and understand
sometimes the silence matters more
than contact with humanity, even mine.
Feel it, just feel it
2 days ago