This room has multiple personalities. This morning

      it was the bright sun on the quilt, the radio

announcer muttering something about beurre

      blanc sauce and the Weimar Republic. And then

in the afternoon, the rain blowing against the windows.

      A fat spider marching along the plaster mark

on the wall. Now, the sound of an open palm

      smacking raw flesh can be heard.

A lonely man's agony fills the courtyard. I can hear it

      through the oboes and strings,

a Spanish dance, an Argentinian tango. I can hear it

even when it's not there. When I am depleted,

       and feel I'm low on love, incapable

of giving anyone

      any happily ever after, or enough of myself. The fat

spider returns on schedule, marches up the plaster.

      The evening shadows darken

into voids and more voids and sometimes

      vines grow.

Suffering is the soul bearing fruit.


M.P. Powers lives in Berlin, Germany. His poems have been published in The New York Quarterly, Rosebud, Existere, Main Street Rag, Third Wednesday, A Cappella Zoo and many other fine places.

This poem was written when I was living in a flat on Rosenthalerstrasse in Berlin. My room, along with twelve others, looked out over a tiny courtyard. There was an Italian restaurant down below, and when I left my window open, I could hear dishes clanging, people talking. The smell of cigarette smoke wafted up, and sometimes, from somewhere else - usually on Sunday afternoons - I would hear a sudden grunt, or a scream. It was a man's voice. I would go to the window, look out, but I could never figure out where it had come from. And it never happened while I was looking. In the end, I started thinking it was my own imagination.



Copyright 2009