A Missed Subway Train (And A Simple Melody)

Poetry by Ted Boughter-Dornfeld Copyright © 2009

All the way to Zion,
She hung from the
Tip of my tongue.

She was the right song,
At the right time. That’s
What I hoped, at least.

I loved her accompaniment;
The kind that was as fine
As a San Francisco sunset.

She invited me to eat dinner,
And I said, “Yes, of course.”
Because I had never been
To her place before.

She said she lived somewhere
Off the North Juda Line.
We agreed to meet
After work, at half past seven,
Outside of the Market
Street subway stop.

I knew that I didn’t have
Much time to waste.
She was the type to leave
If I was late.

Sure enough,
By the end of the day,
I got delayed. I was still
In the office at eight.
I called her twice,
But she didn’t wait.

And I tried to catch her
At the next stop,
But my feet were slow –
I knew that I missed my shot.

So there I was again, caught.
I knew the perfect song
To sing to Celia,
I was just late
On the chorus.

Free to amble because of
My missed commitment,
I walked further down
The Embarcadero,
Until I heard some Cuban dudes
Playing a familiar old song
In the SBC Park, just below Pier 38.

I recognized it immediately –
Such a beautifully simple melody:

Yo soy un hombre sincero, de donde crece la palma
Yo soy un hombre sincero, de donde crece la palma
Y antes de morir yo quiero cantar mis versos del alma.

The funny thing is, for a while,
I forgot about everything.
I sat on that bench, and listened.
The song had that old wisdom to it,
Something that you can’t really explain,
You just feel.

Eventually, I decided to
Walk out onto the pier.
I got to thinking
About Celia again,
How mad she must be –
Send in the clowns.

And just as I
Started to sink –
You know, really feel
Bad for myself,
Someone tapped me
On the shoulder.

I turned to face
The unsuspecting person,
To let them know that
It was the wrong day,
And I was the wrong guy
To be asking for directions…

And there she was,
Right in front of me.
“Take my hand,”
Celia quietly said,
As the lights on the pier
Danced to the sweetness
Of her voice in my ears.
I laughed. She laughed.
And there we were –
A little bit lost together.

Embarcadero Night


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