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by Ric Masten

standing by a highway
waiting for a ride
a bitter wind is blowing
keeps you cold inside
a line of cars is passing
no one seems to care
you look down at your body
to be sure you are there
sitting in a hotel
staring at the wall
with cracks across the ceiling
and silence in the halls
you open up the window
and turn the TV on
then you go down to the lobby
but everybody's gone
and this is loneliness
the kind that I have known
if you've had times like these
my friend
you're not alone
so you leave the empty city
and go down to the shore
you're aching to discover
what you're looking for
the beaches are deserted
in the morning time
a solitary figure you walk
the water line
come upon a tide-pool
and stand there peering in
and when you touch the water
the circles do begin
they lead to where a seabird
lies crumpled on the sand
so you take a single pebble
and hold it in your hand
and this is loneliness
another kind Išve known
if you've had times like these
my friend...
you're not alone
you come back up the beaches
at the end of day
and see how all 
your footprints
have been washed away
no... nothing is forever
we are born to die
so may I say I love you
before I say good-bye
I must say I love you
before I say good-bye

"LONELINESS" will appear in Ric Masten's latest book, Going Out Dancing. Since February 14, 1999, poet/philosopher RIC MASTEN has been keeping an ongoing account of his battle with Incurable Advanced Metastatic Prostate Cancer — from diagnosis to the "Latest Update." He keeps this unique digest in poetry, musings and medical tidbits. Updating as the war goes on. He welcomes calls and correspondence from fellow cancer fighters. Visit his website at: http://www.ric-masten.net/Prostate.Series.html