A substitute teacher takes a break
from showing videos,
he wanders the halls, to escape
the tedium of busy work,
of little lives, bullied into learning
what they can't understand
will help them.

He finds an empty auditorium
and sits in the last row,
eating his lunch, he suddenly hears a violin,
and watches a small Japanese music teacher
play his instrument,
oblivious to his meager audience,
he plays his way through
the memories that haunt him,

a not yet failed poet,
watches a failed musician,
watches the fluidity of a bow
cutting through the scraps of a past life,
past desires of performances he watched,
but could never play.

The man, the audience, takes out a small notebook
and begins to write,
suddenly oblivious that his thoughts
are traveling through a set of strings
from the mind of another man

the two sit a hundred feet apart
inside of each other's heads,
when the violin becomes furious, so too,
does the pen
the poem traces its way through a life
spent following characters
in books he knows he could never write,
settings he could never have imagined.

The poem arrives at the crushing failure
of his own inadequate brain.

The violin pauses,
for the first time since sitting down,
the maker of music meets the maker of poetry.
They nod their heads, and continue
letting art speak for them. When the period ends
they both get up and leave, going back
to their classrooms, and during the brief walk
down the hall, where the music and scribbling
is replaced with aimless volleys of coarse chatter
they realize

that every man's ambition is an island,
solitary and wasted.
But they had each been visited by a small bottle
with a note that only reminded them

we are all alone together