Poetry

A Song of the Gods of Madness


even sitting at a restaurant table
his nervousness was as apparent
as a drummer trying to keep beat
to a song of the gods of madness

there are no gods of madness
I can hear him say
as if he can read minds
and I wonder if the mad
are more intuitive than the firmly sane

I am not mad
he says to everyone in the restaurant
and I take this as coincidence
an utterance of lifelong uncertainty
an inability to arrange or rearrange thoughts

I order another coffee
and he calls from across the room
too much caffeine affects your nerves adversely
and with both hands holds up a glass of water
presenting his glass as if it were a chalice

he stands, bows to the patrons and staff
as if he were a Shakespearean actor
fallen on hard times
but his timing is still impeccable
and he exits the restaurant
as if he knows exactly
what he is doing
and where he is going

Photo by Brenda Whiteway Fiction writer, poet, and playwright J. J. Steinfeld lives on Prince Edward Island, where he is patiently waiting for Godot’s arrival and a phone call from Kafka. While waiting, he has published fourteen books, including Should the Word Hell Be Capitalized? (Stories), Anton Chekhov Was Never in Charlottetown (Stories), Would You Hide Me? (Stories), An Affection for Precipices (Poetry), Misshapenness (Poetry), and A Glass Shard and Memory (Stories).