“You’re a Broken Phonograph,” by Eric Robert Nolan

Let’s try this again … after wrestling with formatting issues, I have somewhat better presented my first entry into the 5-Day Poetry Challenge:

“You’re a Broken Phonograph,” by Eric Robert Nolan

You’re baggage.

You’re a scratched penny on a gravel street.

Your memory is a cheap souvenir from an ill-advised journey that is wished forgotten. You were purchased drunk on a mercilessly hot noon at a roadside stand. The vendor resembled Browning’s “hoary cripple” — all eager eyes and veiled laughter. His smile is frequented by gold teeth — intermittent shining sentries on a rampart grin. His front pockets are stuffed with bills, like twin plump denim ticks; their fangs are dollars’ corners. Your overpriced bauble shines at midday, but every additional dusk renders it lower into dulling shades of deep sepia. The paint flakes off — it falls to the windowsill now like the dead wings of moths. The wise advise its removal; the paint is toxic.

Your image is the aged face of a staid statesman on a stamp, an unremembered lawmaker.

You’re a broken phonograph.

You’re a photo of a burned out building.

Your presence is a preening blackbird at the lawn.

You’re quick to open your legs, but slow to close your mouth.

You’re easy sex, but difficult company.

You’re a cheap date, but a costly acquaintance.

No matter where and when another man will lie beside you, you’re alone.

Your future is all awkward mornings, sunsets that are calls to arms, disenchanted midnights, men misunderstood,

“friends of friends,” “friends” instead of lovers, men recommended, men paid for,

their loins emptied first, their hearts emptied after, both by your mouth,

men slipping out, at sunrise, stealthily before you wake, like cats smelling better breakfast elsewhere.

(c)  Eric Robert Nolan 2015


Photo credit:  “Musee Baud,” 2015, by Rama, via Wikimedia Commons

4 thoughts on ““You’re a Broken Phonograph,” by Eric Robert Nolan”

  1. Like I said earlier, this poem carries on several levels; it’s like a classic French film captured most eloquently and unabashedly in verse. Certainly it’s metaphorically very playful, and gets deeper down into an embittered psyche via the ingenious use of varying imagery. “[T]heir loins emptied first, their hearts emptied after…,” a fine, existentialist summary of the modern relationship.

    Liked by 1 person

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