There’s not a person here, ourselves included,
who has any idea of how to proceed.

There are no steps that guarantee
our children won’t be Nazis or buffoons.

A careful diet and regular exercise
won’t preserve a body dragged under a bus.

We can try anger, we can try sorrow, we can try logic,
as if life might be solved like a Rubik’s cube.

We can try chasing God
the way a puppy chases a rubber bone.

As a last resort, we can fall back on cynicism,
which holds us distant from the world,

but even a cynic may need to know
where to reach for the next glass of wine.

And so we continue to pile up choices,
each one the same as the last;

at best we play a reasonable hunch,
at worst it’s a crap game with blank dice.

This party is really a terrible drag.
I stand in a corner and scan the room.

I watch your smile rise above
the bobbing heads and shell-shocked stares.

What do you say, my heart, my desire?
Where did we put our coats?

Let’s step outside
and breathe deeply in the futile air.

Let’s find a deserted doorway
where nothing is illuminated.

We’ve seen the way the neon lights
can make the moon a mirror ball,

but tonight

let’s wrap ourselves in love and doubt,
surrender to the darkness, and dance.

Glenn Pape lives comfortably in Portland, Oregon with his wife and a terrier named Bernie. Although initially captured by poetry in childhood, he was fifty before he started submitting work. He has been published in “North American Review,” “The Sun,” “Poet Lore,” “Pulp Literature,” and “The Rhysling Anthology,” among others.