“No Problem” by George Bilgere

George Bilgere


I sit here aging at the streetside café,
giving off the sickly yellow smoke of decay
while people walk by pretending
not to notice, glancing away
into the distance or down at their phones,
doing their best out of politeness or shock
to ignore me sitting here aging,
and I don’t blame them, it’s hard to watch.

And now the waitress in her burning beauty,
her lustrous incandescent womanhood,
walks up to me in a radiant cloud of youth
and asks if I want another iced latte macchiato.

But I’m aging so fast, I’m racing so quickly
through time I can barely hear her, and furthermore
I know what she really wants to say is,
your aging is kind of gross, kind of a turnoff,
maybe you could go do it somewhere else
where it doesn’t frighten the customers, and besides,
it’s not like there’s anything I can do about it.

And as I sit here with my skin peeling off
and crumpling up like toilet paper
and my hair falling out on the table
and my teeth rotting and my bones
turning to glass and all my organs drowning
in the sludge of age, I croak to her
as she floats in the cool creamy oasis
of her youthful lustrousness, I do manage to croak, yeah,
another iced latte macchiato would be great.

And from 90 million light-years away,
from the beautiful bountiful burning galaxy
of her late teens, she says to the fast-decaying,
maybe starting to smell bad, just about to be
covered with flies old leathery carcass I’m becoming,
No problem.

Except that there is, actually,
a problem.

from Rattle #67, Spring 2020


George Bilgere: “Every summer my wife and two little boys and I travel to Berlin, Germany, for three glorious months. In the mornings I wander down the shady little street we live on and sit with my notebook at an outdoor cafe improbably called Shlomo’s Coffee and Bagels. I order a coffee, open my notebook, and for the next two hours or so I sit there hoping a poem will find me. These are the happiest moments of my life, even when the poem I’m waiting for stands me up.” (web)

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