Part 1
by Jeffrey Murrell

The French actress on TV,
Old, leathery face,
Once so young and firm,
Gives such good advice:
"Passion? Thank God I am no longer its slave!"
And I can't remember her name,
But so many out there know it.
"Passion I hope I have outgrown.
What in my life would I otherwise have learned?
But I know love--love is not passion;
Love is permanent and never outgrown,
Not fleeting, nor temporary."
She's right, I know.
But I know I won't be able to help otherwise.
I'll just sit and gulp designer beer
And I'll slowly lose my mind over her,
And I'll steadily fray away at the nerves,
Pick up the phone again and call:
"Hey! Whatcha up to? Can I come over?"
"Well, I have to do some work . . . "
"That's okay! Can I just hang out?"
Huff! . ."Well . . . okay. Come over."

The night air is cold;
My breath warm and misty as I walk.
I pass a large display window
Of that fashionable gallery,
Where lovely crystal statuettes are for sale,
Beautiful flowing things of steamy glass,
Nude ethereal women in dreamy flight,
With broad, welcoming hips
And full, pleasing breasts,
Wild, long, wind-whipped hair,
And handsome, tender faces,
The kind that automatically reciprocate care,
The kind that make life a pleasure.
And they make me feel so sad;
They make me feel defenseless,
Lonely and depressed
Because they're out there.
And I can't yet say that any are with me.
Not even her!
But even so, she doesn't have nice, full breasts.
She doesn't have such broad hips.
She won't reciprocate my affection.
But I so wish I could come to have her.
Well, at least I think I might come to have her.
Actually, there's only a chance I ever will.
But, like a fool, I'm taking it.
Because I have no self esteem.
I'll be nothing without her attention.
I feel sick when she doesn't call
And treats my existence so lightly,
Keeping me up at night,
Keeping me from concentrating,
Making me do such stupid things
Because I will come to love her (I think).

The other window ten stories high,
With dim lights on inside,
Holds a mystery so sublime.
A savior somewhere up there hides,
And he will have given me a chance
To find happiness in life,
To be content with her,
To perhaps have and hold,
As fate may find a way.
His apartment right across from mine;
What a bizarre coincidence!
My lights all off, I stalk
His shadowy movements with my eyes
From my window way down below.
An allusive head bobs around,
And I watch it with hunger,
Like my cat watches the birds outside.
Thin, tight body in white T-shirt
Struts around up there,
Amidst furniture, clothes and bikes
With head-full of handsome, dark hair.
Are you the one who still has her heart?
Are you the one who still makes her hurt?
Are you the one who keeps her affection
Distant from me,
The one who will really deserve it?
Me, the one who will have really earned it?
Me, the one to whom you will have granted
This wonderful, wonderful chance!
This dream-like opportunity to be
Loved by someone who matters!
You! I'll owe you big-time, man!
I'll owe you so much for being a loser!
Ha! Look what a loser you'll become.
Look at what you will have blown!
Look at your legacy to me, man!
Look hard, even though you don't care.
Look, man. Just look.
But stay away forever!

And what's with the chick across the hall?
I heard her crying behind her door,
On the phone to someone something like him,
Telling him how much it hurt,
That thing that he did to her.
Her sobs wavered back and forth
Between vulnerable weeping moans
And spiteful, screeching tones,
Accusing him of embarrassing her,
Of using and degrading her.
I felt sorry for the poor girl.
And it made me scared about what I'm getting into!
I know what I seek carries the same risk.
I know that I stand to sob like her.
I know I can end up with spite like hers.
I know, but I'm willing to take that risk
And cry if I have to someday.
Without risk there are no gains.
I have been so long without such pain,
Am I crazy for wanting it again?
Am I crazy for playing this game
With such a game player like her?
Her, the one who has my heart locked up,
Her, the one whose demeanor jacks me up
Higher than should be allowed by law,
Natural or otherwise,
Cold, calculating and unkind.