You don’t know I’m watching you,
watching those hands made rough by bending iron in shops;
watching hands so easily clenched into fists
gently strum the strings of
an out of tune guitar.
You’re sitting on the patio
pencil stub tucked behind your ear,
sheet music scattered across a wrought iron table;
six cans of Bud
serving as inspiration and paperweights.
I know what it feels like
to watch someone else’s dream
when I recognize the same part
of the same song
you’ve been trying to write for years.
If I stay you’ll wave me over
and ask me if you ever told me
about that song you wrote;
the one that sounded like a hit some other guy had.
I’ll nod like I always do
but I’ll hear the one about the guy
who knows he blew his chance
to be somebody
but who still wants
to be somebody anyway.
You’ll punch me in the arm,
then ask me how the girls
are treating me
before telling me
they used to treat you better.
I’ll say I don’t want to arm wrestle
But you’ll talk me into it.
As that vein in your neck bulges
And your bloodshot eyes plead,
I’ll have to decide
if I’m going to let you win.Joe Lombo is a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program at Rowan. The essay and poems that appear in this issue are the first items he has published. He was born and raised in Northeast Philly and currently resides in Turnersville New Jersey.