Charles Wax


Nothing Beyond Mercy


For the first time in 14 months
I went to the movies
afterwards we went to China New Star
myself and six friends.
The oldest at 78, Max, a diabetic
with three toes already removed said,
“The book was better, always is.”
Nellie Nilan who had lost 200 pounds
in the last two years
and had never married and at
58 probably never would, said,
“I couldn’t cry
I wanted to cry but I couldn’t cry.”
The film had ended with both lovers
finally finding love
in one another’s arms.
“I told you’s all, ” said Larry, “we shoulda
seen King Kong.”
“I couldn’t fall asleep last night, ” Mona moaned,
“so at 2 AM I watched TV, the Comedy channel
Lynn something can’t remember her last name
funny and filthy making fun of everybody.”
“That’s not funny, ” said Vivian
born without a left ear
but never combed her hair to cover the absence.
“Where’s the damn waiter, ” exclaimed Ed Henwood,
“in a fancy place like this
the guy shoulda been here by now.”
Jim Wink simply said, “All in good time.”
“Meaning what? ” said Henwood.
“Meaning: we’ll all be dead
soon enough, what’s the hurry.”
“Do me a favor, take your freakin’ medicine
next time you come out in public.”
“You’re quiet, Bernstein, why? ” asked Ella Le Blanc
almost bald and completely
grey at 26, crushing anxiety
having sopped up the last possible speck of human joy.
“The God complex again, wanting to grant
Salvation to all beings
but unable to—
can’t handle it, just wanna be Bernstein,
eat a little Lo Mein, go home, sleep.”
“Meaning what? ” said Henwood.
“In the movie
when a farmer plucked that chicken
still alive and shrieking for mercy
I could feel every feather
being yanked out.”
“I didn’t see that.”
“As the lovers were kissing
off to the left.”

Submitted: Monday, January 19, 2009

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Comments about this poem (Nothing Beyond Mercy by Charles Wax )

  • Rookie - 4 Points Martin O'Neill (1/19/2009 6:33:00 AM)

    This is the first time I have read your work, it is very evocative and captures the feeling of the moment. The deftness of characterisation is excellent. Thank you for sharing this. (Report) Reply

  • Rookie Vincent James Turner (1/19/2009 6:28:00 AM)

    what a joy to see you posting again, i dont know how long you have been back here but i remember when i first came to this site, and stubling upon your work, you are a master at this style of narrative poetry and when reading your work i always feel very close the scene you are potraying.

    great to read your work again

    best regards

    Vincent (Report) Reply

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