Red Vinyl Chair

 by Frederick Pollack












When I enter

the musty, worse than mediocre

dayroom, someone has taken

my red vinyl chair.

Chrome companionably flaky;

cornered, scuffed,

but whole enough to retain

its ancient foam –

dessicated, friable

as the stuff of a sulfur asteroid …



for a time longer than time.

Mine: more important

than the nothing view

it shares, or the shuffler

in faded jammies

now sitting in it.


Should I stab him? with what? Let’s review –

should I stab him

or punch him?  The powers

would disapprove, and send me

farther from that chair.


Should I talk to him? Politely? Perhaps

it’s a test.

One knows that tests are more frequent

the less they entail advancement.

I may not even be rewarded

with my chair.


When life cracks, there’s always

someone to ask you

“What’s your next step?” and think

he serves life thereby.

He does.  It doesn’t care.

A lucid voice among gibberers,

if I can stop hovering

I’ll go beyond words …

sick and officious eyes

will turn and find I am no longer there.




Frederick Pollack is the author of two book-length narrative poems, The Adventure and Happiness, both published by Story Line Press. Other poems in print and online journals. Adjunct professor creative writing George Washington University.

 photo by splorp