Spring 1986, Volume 3

Ron Deeter
Old Men Only Want to Talk

Old men only want to talk.
They stand in driveways watching streets,
Smoking cigarettes to keep the draperies clean.
Exiled from their homes, they ask us for a word;
They ask us for the time it takes to smoke a cigarette.

But we only nod and avoid them
Saying only what is necessary,
Saying "We must go." and "We must go."
Excusing ourselves with the clock,
Not even granting a cigarette of time.

We dare not look them in the eyes;
Liliputians ganging up on old men
Who only want to talk.
So we make sport and laugh amongst ourselves,
And parade about in parody
Saying, "Did you see?" and "Did you see?"

Until our mockery is silenced by cigarettes,
And then we too are only one.
And we stand in driveways to save a drape
And cry alone,
Then we too are old men,
Begging for cigarettes of time,
Who only want to talk.