Nagoya Writes

December 5, 2007

At The Crossroads by Sarah Mulvey

Filed under: Issue: May 2006,Mulvey,Poetry — usbengoshi @ 6:07 pm

I sat alone one afternoon
A beer my only friend
The bar that day was empty
Not a soul from end to end

The mug soon offered only dregs
I gestured for one more
The barman did oblige me
A perfect pint he poured

I took a swig and licked my lips
Trying not to think too hard
About the reasons I was here
Sitting lonely at the bar

But pints have this tradition
It is worn and it is true
Beer melancholy soon creeps up
And then you’re feeling blue

The barman he has seen this sight
A million times before
He hides a yawn, wipes up a glass
And looks up to the door

It suddenly swings open
Afternoon light creeps in
In walk two gents with faded jeans
Their faces showing grins

They swagger over to the bar
One with two fingers held up high
“A pint for me and for my friend
We’re feeling mighty dry!”

Two mugs are set down on the counter
Soon filled with golden beer
One gent looks right at me and says,
“Mind if we sit here?”

One fella sits to my left
The other to my right
One slaps my back and with a wink says
“Cheers mate, we don’t bite!”

Gent to my right smiles knowingly
And makes me feel at ease
Left guy’s more aggressive
Perhaps a man who likes to tease

“Hey there my name’s Dexter,”
Says the man with the calm smile
“We’re pretty parched, our legs are sore
I think we walked eight miles.”

“Hey mate my name is Southpaw,”
Says new friend number two
He drinks his drink, slams down his glass
“I’m still thirsty, how ’bout you?”

Barman pulls us our frosty drinks
They’re set down one, two, three
One for Dexter, one for Southpaw
And one for new friend me

“Hey fella, what’s going on?
What’s with the worried face?”
Asks Dexter sitting to my right
His demeanour full of grace

Southpaw leans in closer
His eyes come near to mine
“Come on friend and spill your guts
We’ll listen, we’ve got time.”

And so that’s how it happened
That’s how it came to pass
I started talking slowly
Staring down into my glass

“Well here’s how it goes fellas,”
I began my tale of woe
“It’s all about a decision
I made not so long ago

I was living my life from day to day
Doing ordinary things
I worked and did my fair share
On occasion I’d even sing

I had someone beside me
It wasn’t a great fit
But I had made my bed, it’s done I thought
This is where I must sit

But on my daily journey
One day I did get lost
I came upon a crossroads
Like something out of Faust

I suddenly had options
Destinations I could choose
Left or right or straight ahead
I really couldn’t lose

I took a peek behind me
At the life that I had made
The complications and the pitfalls
I had the power to make fade

I turned my head and looked up high
I was seeking some advice
I yelled “Please Lord God help me
It’s not like rolling dice…”

No voice told me what to do
So it’s gambling I did choose
The familiar road behind me
Was the path that had to lose

I stepped hesitantly forward
My feet wobbly at first
But then my gait got stronger
An amazing esteem burst

“I am me, me am I,
This is who I am!”
I shouted to the skies above
Breathing deeply as I ran

All the hurts and disappointments
Of my previous life
Were now so far behind me
That old life full of strife

The road at first was smooth as silk
It really was a dream
Each morning new adventures
Idyllic it did seem

But then one day there was a bump
The next day a few more
My new path now not so easy
My feet were getting sore

I took a glance behind me
And that’s when I did see
Remnants from my other life
Had come to follow me

The reminders from my past life
Had taken human form
With legs and feet and arms and hands
And a face that looked forlorn

“Why have you forsaken us,
your connections to your past?
This new life you have left us for
Do you think it’s going to last?”

I felt the tug of guilt’s strong chains
Pulling strongly from behind
I questioned my motives for my choice
Had I been wrong? Had I been blind?

And so I sit today alone
Seeking solace in a beer
The bumps ahead do scare me
The guilt behind I fear

I looked up then to Dexter’s face
His eyes so calm and blue
And then I looked to Southpaw
His smile wide and true

They nodded at me knowingly
They both set down their beers
“Listen friend and you’ll soon see
there is nothing you should fear.

We all come up to crossroads
Humans young and old
To make a choice is bravery
You do not sell your soul

There are so few who take the chance
To move forward, left or right
They think that standing still is easier
Than soaring, taking flight

How could we move forward
If by one choice we remain
In never seeking options
The road would stay the same

This is true and this is tried
However we must stress
The road that is left behind
Should not be left a mess

The road behind is property
Where others will remain
To leave unfinished business
Is considered inhumane

Those bumps you felt, that forlorn face
They haunt you for a reason
To choose a forward path is bravery
To neglect the old one treason

Slow down my friend, and breath in deep
Let out a lengthy sigh
The paths we choose aren’t easy
But they’re the right ones by and by

To second guess, to wonder if
To ponder endlessly
Wasting time on the road you chose
That’s squandered destiny

I am me, me am I,
This is who I am
Shall once again pour out your lips
Shouting loudly as you can.”

Dexter finished up his beer
And Southpaw had his fill
They pushed their seats out from the bar
Laying down money for the bill

I pushed their money back at them
I couldn’t let them pay
These two new friends had helped me
They had let me have my say

I stood up to say goodbye
As they walked over to the door
Southpaw’s wink and Dexter’s smile
Had touched me to my core

Those two had really helped me
They had made it very clear
Life offers endless choices
Many ignore them out of fear

I do expect more crossroads
And more choices I will make
Knowing all the better now
That the best one I will take

I know too not to leave behind
Bits and pieces of loose ends
They will be tied up very neatly
I will make proper amends

Thank you Dexter, thank you Southpaw
You truly helped me see
Whether left or right or straight ahead
On the right road I shall be

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