Image credit: Tolbert

the path from here to yesterday

has too often been traveled

in search of answers and street signs


darkened corners harbor memories

that reach out like a stranger

in want of a cigarette

and in need of a bath


dusty smelly corridors

permeated with cheap wine

are more narrow than the minds

of those whiskered men who walk them


and nobody is home

when i knock on the door


the streets of last night

are covered with papers

sports pages and obituaries

honoring heroes dead and alive


homeless men homeless women

pluck them from their gutters

to wear as jackets and fashion as hats


somewhere in the distance

a little boy cries

as a grown man has beaten his foe


and nobody is home

when i knock on the door


nobody is home


i can’t knock anymore

© 2012, tolbert. All rights reserved.

tolbert (24 Posts)

Born in Virginia and raised in North Carolina, I have Southern roots that were extracted when I lived close enough to Berkeley in the late sixties and early seventies to taste the influences of the pursuit of freedom. As a student at San Jose State University I watched William Kuntsler expound on the values of free speech and he offered more education in an hour, on the lawn by the baseball diamond than most professors gave in a full semester. Married for thirty years, I have two grown daughters and three grandkids,..and two Boston Terriers.


  1. Love it Tolbert, so wonderfully moody and atmospheric. And for better or worse I relate to a lot of it. :)


  2. The depletion of strength and not being able ‘to knock anymore’ are the natural outcomes for a sensitive heart in an insensitive world. Achingly beautiful poem, Tolbert.

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