Fire Escape and Other Poems

Roger Singer


A single light

From an open window

Softened by curtains

Like sleepy eyes

Reaches into the dark,

Splashing on a metal 

Fire escapes.


Lined shadows

Resembling thin

Prison bars

Descend to the 

Sidewalk below

Where people

Stroll beneath them.


A scratchy song

Cries sadly 

From a radio

Where a girl

Whose hair is wet

Soulfully sings 

Into her comb.


People speak

Between floors,

Their words

Rise, then fall

Like days warmth

From below

Into nights grasp.




Soiled broken shadows,

Lifeless dark refuge,

Gray shades of breathing,

In alleys where they hide.


Scattered broken bottles,

Littered sharp edges,

Like quarried crushed stone,

Shattered, never mending.


Faint mumbled words,

Empty slurred oaths,

Forgotten names, 

Drowned in whiskey and gin.


A noise of confusion,

Quarrelling spirits,  

Half formed sentences,

Bewilderment and pain. 


A woman laughs outright,

A man grunts then sighs,

Moments of satisfaction,

Exhausted on need.


Faces blurred and hidden,

Require abstract paths,

Achieving veiled alliance,

In alleys lost to night.


Rain drops,


Leaves in the fall,

Release to the ground

Like soldiers final breath.


Surface winds,

Flowing streams, 

Sweeping ocean tides,

Are earthbound simple laws

That never go to war.




Family celebrations, 

Times like seasons changing

That some will never see.


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