James Schlett has been called “the last living romantic poet of Albany.” He is a north Jersey native who has been an intermittent resident of the Capital Region for the past decade, most recently being called back to the area to work as a business reporter for a local daily newspaper. His poems and prose have een published in Songs of Innocence, The Mid-Atlantic Almanac and AlbanyPoets.com. James has also been a feature reader at the “School of Night” and “In the Living Room” open mic series in Albany and “A Community of Writers” in Schenectady.
The two stopped, the city went by,
They peered into a gallery,
An aurora painted the velvet night sky,
Art painted each heart differently.
That one,” he said, “is beautiful,”
Pointing to a mystic horse,
And he looked to her, anxiously and hopeful,
But she disagreed, of course.
That one. Up there,” she said, pointing,
That one touched her heart,
And he looked, looked, but saw nothing,
Beauty set the two apart.
At an abstract frame, a flower, maybe,
He looked and wanted to cry,
Direly he wanted to see her beauty,
And looking at her, he asked, “Why?”
Softly and slowly her beauty she explained,
Asked, “Do you see it?”
But his head shook, his heart pained.
He could not see it.
They stood in the street’s dim glow,
He looked, lost and scared,
Do you see it?” He said, “No.”
For beauty he endlessly stared.
And then they left behind that gallery,
His heart felt sorely bruised,
She said, “People see beauty differently,”
He looked at her, like beauty, confused.
The last ray drives down the avenue,
A shadowed street streaked by gold,
Above the sun sets, sky shines blue,
And air grows sweet and cold.
Upon buildings the day’s fallen light lands,
Brick is touched by gentle light:
Soft and tender like a lover’s hands
That hold my heart into the night.
With the sun’s silent descent all had perished,
To night my eyes cannot adjust,
Light, like faith, from here has vanished, —
No stars scatter through the sky like dust.
There is no shine to the heavens above,
No doubt can reveal a star,
And flashes of confusion dumb hearts to love
The way light blinds eyes to a star.
Lost is my center, the entire universe,
What remains here I cannot find,
The world I knew lives as a curse
That, though seemingly absent, has not resigned.
And all I can see is this void,
Though more must be hidden there;
Intangible as faith is it was not destroyed
As night whispers to me a cold despair.
For all I see in this vacant sky,
At least there is this anguish
That holds a hope that will not die
And that yields to nothing but a wish.
But to where have all my wishes gone?
Of them heavens no longer inquire;
No star, no thought, asks me when alone
What of this life do you most desire?”
All there is now is this ineffable desire,
Longing for expression in the dark,
But the deepest passions light their own fire
And, like stars, coldly burn needing no spark.