In search of story

February 7.21: Coping


The bench wants society.

Stop! it says. Sit! —

watch your species ignoring you and me!

They rush by but we are the busy ones,

busy stopping.

Soon another will come, stop, sit,

and society will happen.

Maybe a toddler, ooph-ing his way up,

will sit like an L,

revel in his new perspective,

then scramble away,

pollinator to his kind.

Then soon another, on the three legs of late life,

will ease down, lean back,

and toss some memories to you, hungry pigeon.

Maybe next a new parent,

jealously, wonderingly

hoarding that immense softness,

rocking slightly,

sparing a few hushed words.

By and by, maybe two, holding hands, cozy in,

nudging you to other times, other benches

where you stopped,

and you can’t help a small private smile.

Maybe someone who talks a waterfall

crashing down on you in atomic white foam,

like some relatives you’ve run from.

Then even the bench cringes but holds fast

for the sake of the human soul.

Ignore a bench at your peril:

society must be had.



I can’t help noting, dear reader, that I picture people aware of each other

whereas the reality is people are snookered into their phones

and have no idea you are on the bench with them.

I prefer my version.


More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,

and to Wells Theater, Norfolk, VA.


6 thoughts on “February 7.21: Coping

  1. Lol, I prefer your version, too. (I’ve seen many go past here, a busy street, eyes on the phones — while walking their dogs!!) Great, poignant poem. Just beautiful.

  2. Thank you! I am ever astonished at the people going from here to there without ever looking up, so I can sort of imagine what you see on your street. It seems so weird to me — my phone sure isn’t that interesting!

  3. Love it! It reminds me the last couple of times my husband and I flew somewhere. He actually tried to talk to a fellow passenger in line. Can you imagine it? Finally, I had to say, uh, they put those ear buds in, listen to music, and stare at their phone so you won’t talk to them. 🙂 Now, we not only avoid talking to someone, but we try to stay 6′ from them. Funny and sad at the same time. 🙂

    • Oh, you’ve got that right: funny and sad at the same time. This whole ear bud thing is way beyond me. And let’s not pretend that things that look like onions hanging out of ears aren’t goofy-looking. It’s a good thing your husband has you to explain the world to him; here he thought that other people were for being sociable with! And, yes, now we’re safely anti-social. I can but shake my head and, like you, walk the line between laughing and screaming.

  4. You’ve turned an empty bench outside a (closed? – they are here!) theatre into a venue where all life plays out. Invisible pandemic bench theatre should be a craze.

    • Invisible pandemic bench theatre — I like it! I don’t know for sure, but I think this theatre is also closed for now. And sorely missed, I suspect.

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