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All night in a steakhouse in Waikiki
she rubs her stumpy hands,
clapping them gleefully at the called-out numbers,
talking over murky coffee to a friend nobody sees.

We can hear her muttering to herself in the red-rubber booth,
hear her conversation rise and fall
breaking out in shrill laughter at arbitrary points only she
discerns. She sits in a booth-world of her own making,

each night in a lyric booth-world of her own making.
We know "there is the sanity of art, the health,"
just as there is "madness of words nobody craves."
Lady, you go on talking to a night

nobody hears, night of the lonely, erratic, and grave.
Your conversation will find no issue, except here,
over black coffee-- in a booth of words-- spoken
to yourself so that others may overhear and then leave

happier they are different, grand fiddlers of the news.

Rob Wilson