LAST CHANCE CAFE
All of a sudden I was there, I know it is strange you say,
No one looked in my eyes....some tear turned them away.
There was something foreign to me beyond that stink of ale,
When someone in the corner spoke these words as if from a jail ~
"You locked me in here years ago, I'm the one you called your youth.
You tried & sentenced me in exchange for what you thought was truth."
Then a flame came to my cigarette, tender memories glared before my face, it was every girl I ever knew dancing in that space.
They sang, ''I took love for granted" as if some mocking joke ~
As I puffed that perfumed cigarette, they disappeared in smoke.
When that mist cleared... my hands did begin to shake, a gypsy said, "Sit down my son, sit down for goodness sake."
I felt so uncomfortable and I tried to look away, she said, " Your conscience invited you here to this - last chance cafe.
I'm not going to tell your future, I'm not going to tell your past, make sure you learn before you leave to let these moments last."
The sleepy fellow next to me looked up from his nod, and said, "Don't I know you? Your the one who said there's no God."
A gray couple set my table, then pushed the knife & fork away, they shook the tarnished spoon and said, " Is this how you repay?"
"We tried to teach you everything", in unison they'd say.
"We'll be leaving you too soon, then this is your cafe."
Quickly they were faded as I tried to catch my breath, I'd been hit with the warm joy of life & the reality of death.
I tried in desperation to figure out what was fake and real, then the earth beneath my feet heated up and I'd finally began to feel.
The sun was slowly rising...its rays led to a door, I finally began realizing what I'd appeared here for.
I stood up to leave this place I thought I could forget, when a faceless man put out his hand as if to collect a debt.
I said, "I have no money, what am I to give?"
He answered, "Empty your pockets of all your guilt & you've earned the right to live."
Next was a golden princess, she gave me a diamond as bright as day, she kissed my cheek & whispered, "Remember me on your way."
The bartender looked like me in that mirror when he smirked as if to say, "Consider yourself lucky, not everyone leaves the last chance cafe."
Before I knew it I was outside, I dared not turn around. I watched my shoes wear out the streets as I blindly walked cross-town.
There was something missing in me. I'd been halfway through a fight, so I sat and thought about what it was deep into the night.
I was about to give up when her diamond lights did shine. I begged her where she'd gotten them, she said, "They were always mine."
You may not believe this, there's no twilight zone you say.
Don't ever pass a place that's called LAST CHANCE CAFE.
*This poem was penned by a dear friend Lance Ronald Martin many many years ago. While in a self help program, we became very good friends and he shared this poem with me. It exists only on a torn piece of parchment paper. It is shared here exactly as he penned it, with only grammar corrections. One day after being gone from the program a very long time ( the Lord became my helper through that program ) word reached me that 'Lance-Romance' had passed away. He was a good hearted, deeply affectionate person who was moved by music & the rhythm of life. It is an honor to post this here and give thanks for the Last Chance Cafe of my own life.
To you Lord.........belongs all the Glory.
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